March 23 2016
Name – Charlene Watt
Nickname – The Machine
Weight – 125 pounds
Record – 6 wins 1 loss
Team – Incorporated Martial Arts
Where are you from ?
Hamilton, New Zealand.
How long have you been training ?
I started Traditional Martial Arts when I was 18 and got my black belt in 2008. After this I started to get more into MMA training however it wasn’t really until the last couple of years I have really focused on it 🙂
How did you get in to MMA ?
It is a fairly long story! I was quite a lot “larger” when I was in high school. I have always loved sports and Martial Arts however I also loved food a lot more haha. In high school around 5th form my mum and I started a Cardio Kickboxing Class (at my current club) to help me lose weight. I got really into it and after high school I started up their Traditional Martial Arts Classes. From here I got hooked. I trained for 5 years and received my black belt under Incorporated Martial Arts. After black belt I was after a new goal and was offered a fight on the Princess of Pain show. I got my first win and my love of MMA and wanting to fight grew from there.
Tell us about your nickname and how you got it ?
My Nickname is “Charlene the Machine”. This was given to me from my coach and teammates as I love cardio and just like to keep going. I am a little obsessed with cardio and exercise haha.
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter ?
A defining moment for me was the feeling I had during and after my first MMA fight. The rush you get walking out, the surreal feeling actually being in the ring and finally the buzz of the Win and knowing your hard work has paid off. From that moment I knew I wanted to do more and see where it could take me.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to enter the world of MMA ?
My Friends, Husband and Family are always supportive of me and MMA and always have been. I am so lucky to have them and couldn’t do it without them.
What is your current record ?
What is your favorite strike or submission ?
Just striking in general I’d say. You can’t beat punching and kicking someone/something haha. I do have a favourite sub at the moment but I’ll keep that secret in case I can pull it off in the cage.
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
I am inspired by so many this is a tough question! I would have to say my parents however and in particular my mum. She’s in her late 50’s and still goes hard with her Crossfit/Gym classes and regularly attends my martial arts fitness class too. She walks in covered head to toe in supports and bandages haha but still does it and works hard. I hope I can keep up with as much as her when I am at that age.
What team do you train with ?
IMA (Incorporated Martial Arts) in Hamilton.
Do you like to stand with your opponent or take the fight to the ground ?
I definitely prefer stand up as I have had the most time in this area however my last four fights have ended on the ground so I guess that could be changing!?!?
What does being fighter mean to you ?
Being a fighter means so much. There are so many aspects to fighting mentally and physically and a never-ending learning process. Discipline, commitment, drive and focus are just some of the attributes you need to be a fighter and that’s exactly what I love about it. Don’t get me wrong it can be extremely tough at times but it’s all worth it once you step in that cage/ring.
What weight do you fight at ?
Flyweight 125 pounds.
what do you think separates you from other fighters In your division ?
I think my mental game is one thing that separates me. My mental strength from years of hard training and weight loss is pretty strong. It takes a lot to make me break and I always strive to give 100%.
If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
There is a couple really. I love the current Strawweight Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I would love to have a match up with her. I would also love to be put up against Rhonda Rousey and/or Cris Cyborg. Even though they are in higher weight classes I would just love to see how long I could last with them haha.
Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
My Toughest fight to date was against Dawn Chalmers in the Princess of Pain 8 woman Competition. I made it into the finals that night and she was my last opponent. I had previously never heard of her before but I surely won’t forget her again haha. Because of the nature of the competition and not knowing who I might come up against I had worked all aspects of my game leading up to the competition. In saying that however I definitely wasn’t prepared for Dawn’s boxing skills! Let’s just say my face was nowhere near pretty the next day!!!
What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
It is always just to give my 100%. It’s all you can do really. The hard work has been done and being in the ring/cage is your time to show that.
Who are you fighting next ?
At this stage it will be to defend my XFC Title however an opponent/date has not yet been confirmed.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
I would love to get a fight overseas in a big promotion like Invicta, Bellator or UFC if they start a women’s Flyweight division. New Zealand is a small country so it would be a dream come true to be able to represent our country and be remembered for doing so.
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
Again this is a tough question as there are so many!!! My coach as he is so knowledgeable and so passionate about the sport. He is always willing to give us his time and share his knowledge/find ways to make us better fighters. My team mates and especially my training partner Nicola Mayall. These guys are always so supportive and are always there to put in the hard yards with me. Finally Belinda Dunne from Princess of Pain has also been a big Influence. I don’t think I would have got into MMA without her promotion. Princess of pain is very well run and has come so far over the last few years. Her show is very well run and she really looks after her fighters. I don’t think I would have got to where I am today without her and her fight shows that I have done.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport and why ?
Despite recent events I would have to say Rhonda Rousey. She has made such an impact on Women’s MMA and without her I don’t think Womens’ MMA would be where it is today.
How would you describe your fighting style ?
Because of my background in Traditional Martial Arts I would have to say I am a stand up fighter however I am constantly working to become more well-rounded.
What drives or motivates you ?
In all honesty my fear of being overweight again is one of my biggest motivators and probably another reason I have my nickname “Charlene the Machine”. In high School I reached over 100kgs and I never ever want to be there or feel that way again.
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
To be honest I would hate to think where I would be if I hadn’t found Martial arts! I am basically half the weight I used to be, most of my best friends I have met through training and my husband I met through Martial arts friends as well.
What gets you hyped up for a fight do you have any pre fight rituals that get you ready to go to battle ?
I don’t really have any pre fight rituals. I like to have a nap a few hours before I have to be at the fight location and I always have the same walkout song. When I hear that song I know it’s all on!
your backstage about to walk out your music hits what’s going through your head as you walk to the cage ?
This is basically when I have an internal freak out haha. It hits me that it’s really happening and there’s no backing out now!
Who is your favorite fighter ?
As mentioned earlier I love the fighting style and personality of Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I also love Cris Cyborg as she is just insane! We got the pleasure of meeting her while on a training holiday in Thailand and she is such a nice person.
When you’re not training what do you like to do with your free time ?
Basically hang out with my husband, friends and family or go to the gym. 😛
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
Definitely winning the Princess of Pain 56kg title last year in May! It was an 8 woman tournament and I was so stoked to finally get the win as I had competed in two tournaments earlier in my career and lost in the finals. This was closely followed by winning the XFC title in November!
What do you think the biggest challenges are for women in MMA ?
Just the fact there aren’t the same opportunities for women as there are men. It is getting so much better however and Women’s MMA has come a long way.
What advice can you give to young female fighters ?
Hard work pays off. If you put the work in you will get the rewards… maybe not when you want them however but if you keep at it the time will come.
Where do you see women’s MMA in the next 5-10 years ?
I would love to see it equal with Men’s MMA! More weight classes and opportunities.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?
I would love to have said I have fought under a big MMA promotion like Invicta and hopefully also have a child haha. Two pretty conflicting goals but would like to do both. 🙂
What are your goals within the sport ?
As already mentioned I would love to fight under Invicta, Bellator or UFC if they start a flyweight division. No matter what the outcome it would be a dream come true.
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
I would like to thank all of my supporters, team mates, coaches, Family, Friends and Husband!! I would not be where I am today without these people. Also a big thanks to my sponsor MMA Addict. If you need MMA gear check them out on http://www.mmaaddict.co.nz and if you haven’t already like my athlete page please go check that out as well . https://www.facebook.com/CharleneTheMachineWatt/