This Irish MMA Lass not only has class but will kick your ass!

Below is an interview I did with Irish MMA fighter Catherine Costigan that you can also find, as well as find a ton of great women’s mma content here  and here

I recently had the pleasure, no the honour – and not just because she is one of the fighting Irish 😉 – to interview one of the many amazingly talented and successful athletes of mixed martial arts, Catherine Costigan…a fighter with a solid background of wins.

Costigan is not only dedicated to her sport, but she is also one who is dedicated to helping others reap the health benefits of mixed martial arts training, as she coaches and changes many lives of both men and women with her Body Power program. I wanted to know more about this spitfire and what she feels makes a champion a champion as well as wanting her to help bring to light some of the experiences she has had and the adversity she faces and feels others may face as a woman in the sport.

MT: How long have you been involved in the sport of mixed martial arts or other combat sports?

Costigan: I started when I was 14 in freestyle kickboxing and points style fighting with my coach Dermot McGrath. This background gives me a big edge in timing, speed and strategy. How to take the opponent apart bit by bit.

When the first UFC came out on video we started training MMA as much as we could straight away.

MT: Have you ever been involved in traditional martial arts?

Costigan: I never thought that the martial arts I joined were super traditional, the style that I did was open to ways and ideas about fighting creating an all round martial artist. I wear my white Karate gi and black belt to the cage as I do believe there is something special about it. To me it akin to the samurai donning his armour and colours before battle. I am true to tradition there and in my attitudes as a martial artist, especially in respect.

MT: What has been the biggest challenge for you thus far in the sport?

Costigan: I’d have to say coming through injuries, getting opponents and sparring partners at Atomweight (105 lbs).

MT: What do you feel is the biggest challenge that women are facing in the sport and how do you feel it can be overcome?

Costigan: I’m not going to say the general that we want to push forward and make ourselves belong because it has been done over the years. Women fighters have laid the foundation, Sexton, Carano, Fuji, Cyborg. We know the demand and talent is out there. Being paid as much as the men, being exciting, making waves will get more women and men to support and demand the match ups they want on the female side.

MT: What discipline do you feel is most important to success in mixed martial arts?

Costigan: Wrestling! It really hardens and develops will power, it’s the food for it. This is the one thing fighters can’t be without.

MT: What is the biggest misconception about (you) or women in general in mixed martial arts or any other combat sport?

Costigan: That I should be at home doing what every other woman is doing. Safe job, kids, husband and cute dog. I remember at the Q and A before UFC 93 in Dublin, a woman asked Michael Bisping about women fighters being in the UFC and he said to her “ Shouldn’t you be sweeping up?” I wanted to get on the mic and tell him “ Come on up here and I’ll clean the floor with you!”

MT: What do you feel makes a champion a champion?

Costigan: A champion is one that is willing to face a reflection of themselves across the cage and train to beat it.

MT: Do you agree that there is a difference between simply being a fighter vs being an athlete? Explain your answer.

Costigan: Yes there is a difference. And it come down to attitude. You must be both. An athlete will crumble under punishment in the cage but a fighter will embrace it.

MT :Do you feel that nutrition plays a major role in your ultimate success? Explain your answer.

Costigan: Absolutely just look at all the fighters now coming up with Mike Dolce to the scales. GSP has his personal chef. The food that goes into your body is the building block for your performance, recovery and obviously making weight safely. (MY personal insert here…contact me Melissa Traynor if you are a newbie and need help with this too 😉 )

MT: What do you feel that you bring to the table or how do you hope to inspire other women to get involved in the sport?

Costigan: I hope to be an all round female fighter that can really bring every part of the game and be exciting doing it. I decided back 10 years ago that I needed to start teaching to get more girls/women involved in it. And man did that change things. I remember my first class had 30 women. And the guy before me teaching the Tae Bo class looked very worried as he knew there was a change coming and I was bringing it! There weren’t many women teaching at the time in Ireland so it makes a huge difference having a woman coach.

MT: What is one piece of advice you would give to women thinking of getting into combat sports?

Costigan: Do it! So many women call me and tell me they are afraid of doing the classes because they will look stupid so a lot don’t turn up. The one rule I live by is no regrets because I am afraid of what people think of me.

People are predictable and boring because they have been programmed that way. I will work for the rest of my life teaching my female students how to stand out from the crowd. No programming, just let them feel the freedom of life. Feel accomplishment of the purest form in combat. No drug matches the feeling.(or so I’ve been told.) It’s the one point always for me when the ref lifts my hand that I know it’s the life for me.

I also want to thank Melissa Traynor for highlighting women’s MMA and how amazing it is.

Thanks so much to Catherine Costigan for this interview. Please check out Catherine’s website here.

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