Kate Jackson is gearing up for one of her biggest fights at OVO Arena (Wembley Arena) in May 2022 / Picture Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA
Kate Jackson is gearing up for one of her biggest fights at OVO Arena (Wembley Arena) in May 2022 / Picture Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA fighter Kate Jackson is currently training for her fight on May 13th, 2022 in front of a home crowd at the iconic OVO Arena (Wembley Arena).

She will take on Greek opponent Elina ‘Gunner’ Kallionidou, but Jackson has admitted she hasn’t given much thought to who she will be facing in the ring.

Jackson spoke to Female First about her upcoming bout, revealed her journey into the sport of MMA and explained what she wants to do after her fighting career comes to an end.

Could you tell me about your journey into MMA?

It’s been a very long time now, I started karate at 15 and judo at 16. I was always interested in the concept of fighting but wanting to find out what happens in real life if you’re both trying to achieve the same objective and how that would work. I went from karate and judo into Brazilian ju-jitsu and kickboxing, and then when I was in my early 20s, I got offered a potential fight in Wales for a show there and it was a really scary thought, but I figured I’d go for it and see what happened.

What’s been your proudest moment in your career so far?

I guess the fact that I’m still going 10 years in, and that I’m getting to do this professionally for a living because that wasn’t even an option when I started. Professional MMA existed but there were no big opportunities for women and the ability to fight for big organisations, so the fact that I get to fight for Bellator on a world stage and that I had fought for a title in Hawaii, that was an absolutely amazing opportunity. A lot of people say that’s a dream come true but it’s more than I thought was possible really at the start.

What would you credit your success to?

Stubbornness mostly, I started something and it’s not so much the external achievements that drive me but it’s a sport that you can never be good enough at, you can never be perfect at, and I guess it’s the drive to achieve being as good as I can possibly be that keeps me going, so far anyway.

What are your thoughts ahead of your fight at Wembley on May 13?

I mean the training is hard, it’s the first time that I’ve been full time with my current team and so it’s more of a day by day, week by week process. It’s five weeks out from making weight now [at time of interview] so I’m really looking forward to getting to that point where the hard training is over, dieting is done, I’ve made weight and I can finally look forward to the fight itself but right now it’s still the hard part.

Kate Jackson is a real treat to watch / Picture Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA
Kate Jackson is a real treat to watch / Picture Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA

Do you have any thoughts on your opponent Elina ‘Gunner’ Kallionidou?

We know the areas of my game that I need to improve on, so we watched footage of my opponent early on but obviously she’s young and she’s probably improving fast so to a certain extent it’s filling in the holes in my own game rather than focusing on hers. She’s young, she’s had quite a decent number of fights and I’m sure she’s really hungry for it, but I haven’t watched loads of stuff, certainly not recently anyway.

Do you think the profile and exposure of women’s MMA needs to be improved to help inspire the next generation?

I don’t think that’s so much of a problem anymore, the sport has grown really fast, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu has grown fast, the number of women doing Ju-Jitsu and MMA and kickboxing is still growing. Not so much at local competitions because there are so many of them but the women coming through are head and shoulders skill wise what was around 10 years ago. Obviously, MMA as a whole the more publicity the sport gets, positive publicity hopefully, the better but I think so far, it’s growing and it’s building, there’s a lot more mainstream awareness now than there’s ever been. I think that should hopefully keep growing and we’re seeing a lot more children, girls and boys, that are coming through at my own gym and I coach them as well, so it’s nice to have that looking back, it wasn’t always there.

Have you got an ultimate career achievement in mind?

I’m really only looking as far as this current fight at the moment, past that I really enjoy coaching, it’s really great seeing the improvements you get, especially with the younger ones and the teenage fight team and stuff like that. I want to stay involved in the sport whatever I do in the future, but I don’t want to look too far ahead.

Tickets for Kate’s fight at Bellator 281 are on sale now, and are available to purchase via both axs.com/uk and BELLATOR.com. The fight will also be available across the BBC network including BBC iPlayer and BBC Three.

Written by Lucy Roberts for Female First, who you can follow on Twitter, @Lucy_Roberts_72.

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