It was not all that long ago that women’s MMA was on the fringe of the sport, not so much thriving but surviving. Among the fighters during the time right before it became one of the sport’s premier attractions, was Kelly Kobold.
Having gotten her start in 2002, Kobold had competed against some of the top fighters in women’s MMA at the time, and perhaps is best known for her bout against then-rising star Gina Carano for EliteXC in 2008.
But right as women’s MMA was about to take off, Kobold left the sport. It’s only recently that she decided to make her return following a six-year layoff to the sport she helped pioneer.
“Dana White had gone on the record at the time saying that women would never be in the UFC,” Kobold told MMAWeekly.com. “That was kind of discouraging from a career perspective as a fighter because I had already been in there against the top in the world and had fought for some of the biggest promotions at the time. There wasn’t anywhere else to go.”
Having since gotten married and started her own gym with her husband, Kobold’s recent success in the grappling scene led her to feel like now was the right time to return to MMA.
“It kind of lit a fire under me,” said Kobold. “It made me realize that I could hang with these strong, pretty athletic, ladies. I was able to perform so well and feel so good about it, it made me want to get back in there.
“Coupled with the fact that there are women in the UFC who hare having a lot of success and getting a lot of notoriety and are able to make some money at this now, that maybe it’s time for me now to step back in there and see if I’ve still got it and use some of the skills I’ve been developing and polishing these past six, seven, years.”
Kobold (18-3-1) returns to fighting at LFA 20 to take on former Invicta FC veteran Christine Stanley (5-3) in a main card 125-pound bout on Friday in Prior Lake, Minn.
“I think the real winners of this fight are going to be the fans. I think both Christine and I are going to go out there and put it all on the table, fight our hearts out, try to kick each other’s butts. Win, lose or draw it’s going to be a great fight.”
Depending on what happens on August 25, Kobold will decide what is next for her and whether or not she can sustain a second stint in MMA.
“At this point I have to take it fight by fight,” said Kobold. “If I go out there and get knocked out in three seconds, there’s going to be a different game plan for my career than if I go out there and knock her out in three seconds. We have to play it by ear a little bit and see what happens.”