After a successful stint in the amateur ranks, flyweight prospect Hailey Cowan felt like now was the right time for her to turn pro.
For Cowan the main things she is taking from her time in the amateurs is how well her coaching prepared her for fights, and how she was able to translate what she had done in the gym into the cage.
“I learned how great my coach, Jake Brennan, is,” Cowan told MMAWeekly.com. “You see what he put into you and how successful it was for you in the cage against your opponents; his knowledge and his ability to prepare me for fights.
“The thing for me was that I just needed the cage time. I get in a lot of rounds in the gym, but it’s different when you’re in the actual cage in an actual fight. I think the biggest thing I got from my amateur career was not only cage time, and the confidence not only in myself, but also in my coaches.”
Coming into MMA after a standout collegiate career in acrobatics and tumbling, Cowan feels it also helped give her a leg up on other fighters who might not have had the high level experience in athletics she had.
“Just the foundational strength and the balance and the ability to compete under pressure; I learned all that in acrobatics and tumbling, and it translates perfectly to MMA,” said Cowan. “I have yet to meet a girl who as physically strong as me.
“The fact I did gymnastics as such a high level and did really well there; I really understood what it took to be a fighter. I understood all the hours in the gym. I understood how to eat a strict diet. I understood the discipline and the sacrifices a fighter has to make.”
For her 125-pound pro debut this Friday in Dallas at LFA 40, Cowan (0-0) will face fellow debutant Victoria Leonardo (0-0) in a bout that was originally to have happened last year in the amateur ranks.
“I prepared for (Leonardo) about six weeks last time, and this time I’ve got about nine weeks to prepare for her, and I’m a big game planner, so I’ve had 15 weeks to build a game plan and perfect it,” Cowan said.
“I feel very comfortable with the opponent. I know she’s tough. But I’m really confident in my skill and my game plan and my corner. I think it’s going to be a fun fight to where I can go out there and showcase a little bit of everything.”
Though she’s just starting out her career, Cowan has been earmarked by many as a future star. Having competed for such a long time at high levels before, Cowan feels she can more than handle the expectations placed on her.
“It excites me that people see in me the dream that I have and they’re seeing it could happen too potentially,” said Cowan. “It excites me and it doesn’t make me nervous or add any extra pressure or anything like that.”