Australian Bec Hyatt’s U.S. debut was one of the more anticipated parts of the upcoming Invicta FC 4 card this Saturday, but things got even more exciting when it was announced that she was taking the place of injured Claudia Gadelha in the evening’s 115-pound championship bout with Carla Esparza.
Her step up to championship contender comes after a year in which Hyatt went on a four-fight winning streak.
“After my debut loss in 2011, I went back to the drawing board and trained really hard, working on all the little things that I needed to work on and have just run through any opponent they’ve sent up (against me), so 2012 was a good year,” said Hyatt.
“For my experience and how long I’ve been training for and whatnot, I think I’ve done quite well. But I’m always trying to improve myself because I am my worst critic.”
Hyatt remains equally grounded when she looks at why she was chosen to face Esparza after Gadelha’s injury.
“I was very overwhelmed and excited and eager to accept and get in there and step it up,” Hyatt said. “I think that I was the last ditch effort to find an opponent, but I’m still glad they asked.”
According to Hyatt, the late change of opponent doesn’t alter her game plan, as she’s never been one to specially tailor all her training around each individual fight.
“I just train everything anyway because anything can happen in MMA, so nothing really changes,” she said. “I’m just going to go in there, do my thing, listen to my corner and make those adjustments.”
Hyatt feels she has an advantage in the stand-up portion of the fight, while Esparza will be the better wrestler. In the end, though, it may come down to someone breaking down under the pressure of a title fight and making mistakes.
“It’s no pressure because I have nothing to lose,” Hyatt told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s more pressure on Carla because people are saying she’s supposed to beat me, so the pressure is on her to prove them right. So for me, there’s no pressure at all.”
Win or lose, Hyatt sees her future firmly rooted in the U.S.
“Most definitely America is where it’s at,” she said. “Australia is still growing an MMA scene, especially women’s MMA, and I’ve run out of opponents in Australia. America and Invicta is my home and is where I’ll be fighting from now on.”
With her title shot coming sooner than later, even though she intends on staying in Invicta, the remainder of the year is wide open for Hyatt.
“Originally, it was just to get past Joanne (Calderwood) and whoever they next put against me in hopes of getting a title shot,” she concluded. “So because of the fact that I got skyrocketed into this title match, I’m going to have to play it by ear I think.”
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