Flight

It’s here, the moment I pushed my mind, soul and every part of my body for. The fight has come and I’ll know if I’ve still got the 14yr old girl who became a fighter inside me. Fifteen minutes to prove myself worthy of the cage and it’s audience.

It’s Saturday, Rosi and Peter arrive with smiles that possibly hide the fear, or expectations for me. I’m very glad to see them both but really happy to see Rosi. It’s a week after her debut in the UFC. She seemed different today, she was the most at peace that I’ve ever seen her.

She finally got the respect and admiration from the MMA world. She fought in a bigger weight class and stood her ground. Yes, her hand wasn’t raised at the end but she didn’t need it. She achieved her dream. That’s the point to fighting not the result but the understanding and clarity. No belt, trophy or medal can deliver that.

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She makes me relax and laugh so much as she drives us to the venue, trying to find the entrance to the car park. It only takes us a couple of trips around the same street, many illegal UTurns!! Peter and Dermot tease her about getting there before the fights are over.

Also about being a big UFC fighter now and if we get stopped by police she can use the do you know who I am??? I say to her your sense of direction is so good, no idea how you got caught in a triangle. At this stage we are all in hysterics. Damn, I’m getting way too relaxed before the fight!!

Finally in the arena, I’m greeted by my supporters that came all the way with me from Ireland and they’re pumped up. For most of them it’s their first time seeing me fight. As far as I know they got the whole place screaming for me and I must say I couldn’t dream of giving up with them at Cageside. The support and belief they gave me that night will stay with me forever. A big thank to Donal who was the only guy in a group of girls. He’s another one of my protectors and I can always count on him.

I see Vanessa for the first time, go straight over and shake her hand. Show her the respect she deserves because she’s put everything into her training for this one moment too. One thing I saw in her was the fighter, it was clear in her eyes. Got a real sense of it from her. Now I’m fired up because I know I’ve got a test of combat coming. That’s all I ever want, the girl that’s my equal.

I’m informed I’m co main event and with a wait of 3 hours. I never had that pressure before but I’ve just got to roll with it. Actually I’ve been waiting 23 months for this, what’s a few more hours.

The warm up area is always a hype of emotion, hope and defeat mixed up in one room. You must learn to block it all and listen to your coaches. If any bit enters it will create the cracks of failure. Dermot’s been with me for a long time, knows me the most and keeps me feeling good. I’ve never had someone believe in me as much as he has my whole life. That’s why I’m here at this moment. He made it possible.

It’s my first time having Peter and Rosi in my corner. Something about them that truly just works. Peter, when he arrives I can see how other fighters respect him as he walks around the warm up area. They make way for a professional that through his actions educates the young fighters. I also being one!! I’m still very much a kid in this art. He sits me down and starts wrapping my hands. He starts calming my mind, telling me to feel the beginning of the fight, feel the aggression build. He maps out how my mind and body will react. In that time he is programming me with words. They fall soft from him but lodge deep within me. He protects me like a father would his daughter, I notice he watches everything going on in the room. Making sure no one gets near me or messes up this crucial part.

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Once my hands are wrapped we get to it, Pete starts with some fast boxing, I’m feeling fast, I’m nervous but truth is I know this is what I want. I feel the fear but I’ve never shied away from it. I’m hungry for it, smashing the pads with victory in sight.

Then Rosi comes in next round working some wrestling drills and I’m determined to do my very best for her so she has no worries when walking to the Cage with me. She’s saying sweeeeeeeeet. Now I’m really building that unstoppable feeling. She’s happy with my ability and that means the world to me. She has made me battle ready.

At times when I’m resting in between rounds I look over and see Rosi trying to single leg Pete into the couch but as usual he’s just laughing at her attempt. They are like two school kids playing and it makes me smile. I smile because I know I’m surrounded by the best corner in the world and true friends.
I’m called, it’s time it’s been 23 months of surgeries, physio, dieting, training and finally my music hits. My War Drums I hear again, my name announced, my passion and hope alive.

Time to Fly again.

My Shadow with me.

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