Hailey Cowan Plans to ‘Showcase a Little Bit of Everything’ in Pro Debut

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.

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“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.”

The Ultimate Fighter 27 Episode 6 Recap: Team Cormier Takes Back Control

The Ultimate Fighter Undefeated TUF 27 Miocic vs Cormier

On episode 6 of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated, two fighters stated their case to UFC president Dana White to get new life in the competition and the last pick on Team Cormier took out Team Miocic’s second choice.

After Mike Trizano defeated Thailand Clark in episode 5 giving Team Miocic their first team win, Coach Stipe Miocic called on his second pick Suman Mokhtarian to take on Team Cormier’s last choice Ricky Steele.

Fighters Plead Their Case to Return

Prior to the Mokhtarian and Steele bout, Team Miocic featherweight Jay Cucciniello asked to meet with White and laid out his case for replacing the injured Luis Pena.

“I came on this show for one reason and that’s to leave an impression and leave my name behind in this sport,” Cucciniello said to the UFC president.  “I had my fight.  It didn’t go my way.  Luis Pena, the lightweight, he’s out.  I’m a 145er, but I’ve come here ready to fight anyone… I want that opportunity to take that spot.”  

After the fight, Team Miocic’s John Gunther approached White with his sales pitch to be the one to get a rebirth back in the competition.

“I know I had a terrible performance but I just wanted to let you know that if there’s any possible way that I could get back in there I’d love to,” he said.  “I’d love to get back in there.” 

“I’m going to sit down and I’m going to talk to the coaches and I’m going to make a decision,” stated White.   

The Fight: Suman Mokhtarian vs. Ricky Steele

Steele, who comers from a karate background, wanted to keep the fight standing while Mokhtarian planned to gain respect standing. Both fighters predicted finishes heading into the fight

Steele employed a heavy kicking attack while Mokhtarian looked to counter strike. After absorbing several leg kicks in the early going to the opening frame, Mokhtarian decided to try and get the fight to the ground. Unable to secure a takedown, Mokhtarian found himself in the clinch with Steele where Steele delivered knees to body and legs. Mokhtarian applied a guillotine choke, but Steele escaped. The first round ended with Mokhtarian working hard for a takedown but was unable to get it.

The second round started with Steele returning to his kicking strategy.  He landed kicks to Mokhtarian’s lead leg and also targeted the body.  Steele began picking Mokhtarian apart with strikes as well as outworking him.  Mokhtarian picked up the pace in the closing minute but was unable to do enough to sway the judges.  All three judges scored the fight for Steele by unanimous decision. 

“It was a great fight, Suman really tested me. He came out swinging, and caught me in the eye where I went temporary blind and started seeing three of him. It has happened to me before, so I knew that I could fight through it. Excited to get the win,” said Steele following the fight. 

“I had a lot of fun tonight, but I let the win get away from me. I wanted to go out there to strike, and try to get the knockout, instead of sticking to the game plan that we set out, but it happens. I have to learn from it, which I will. I hope that I put on a show for Dana White tonight and hope I can get another chance to prove myself,” Mokhtarian said after the loss. 

Next Fight Announcement

Coach Daniel Cormier announced the final lightweight bout of the opening round.  Richie Smullen will face Team Moicic’s Allan Zuniga for the last spot in the semifinals. 

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