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August 9th 2016

Fighter Profile
Name – Kelly Clayton
Nickname – Killer Kelly
Weight – 135 pounds
Record – 3 wins 2 losses 1 draw
Team – Yakima MMA

Where are you from ?
Yakima, Washington

How long have you been training?
3 years.

How did you get in to MMA ?
I had always wanted to do wrestling but didn’t think it was still an option after high school. I was going through some changes in my life and had begun cardio kickboxing with some friends. (I secretly wanted to be a boxer.) I also started weekend bartending at a nightclub. Coincidentally, the nightclub hosted an MMA event. That was my first real exposure and sparked an interest.

How did you get the nickname Killer Kelly ?
I’ve heard a lot of nicknames over the years. Killer Kelly came from one of my teammates. This particular teammate took me under his wing. Because of that I think the nickname really speaks to me.

What is your current record ?
MMA 3-2-1 and KB 1-0.

What is your favorite strike or submission ?
I have a solid straight right hand.

Who is your biggest inspiration ?
My biggest inspiration is my dad. My work ethic, competitive drive, and growing desire for adventure all come from my dad. Even at a young age, I wanted to be just like him and would follow him around the family farm. I was very much a tom boy growing up.

What team do you currently train with ?
Yakima MMA.

Do you like to stand with your opponent or take the fight to the ground ?
I’m a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and have competed in over a dozen tournaments these last few years. I consider myself a much better grappler but it’s my natural instinct to stay standing with my opponents.

What does being a fighter mean to you ?
I suppose fighting symbolizes everything that I’ve ever wanted. I’ve always followed the social norm. If I wasn’t married and having kids, I went to college. I did what was expected of me. I’m also very non-confrontational. I had never actually punched anybody or been in a fight before I stepped in the cage. I feel like fighting allows me to express myself in a way people wouldn’t normally get to see. It’s freeing.

What weight do you fight at ?
135 lbs.

What do you think separates you from other fighters in your division ?
I already accepted loss. Removing the fear of losing I think makes me a dangerous fighter. I don’t have anything to prove. I fight because I want to fight. I fight because I enjoy it.

If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
I can’t think of anyone in particular.

Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
My toughest fight was against Anna Dempster. I took the fight on 2 days notice and agreed to fight her above my walking weight at 160 lbs. It was my second fight. We went three rounds and I lost by decision.

What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
At first, just stepping on the mat or in the cage was a victory. Since then my mindset has completely changed. Now I’m very focused and determined. I’m excited to perform. I look forward to it. And I enjoy training.

Who are you fighting next ?
My next fight is August 18 against Gillian Noll @ 135 lbs on King of the Cage in Worley, Idaho. After that I have a title fight scheduled for September 10 against Faith Davis @ 145 lbs in my hometown Yakima, Washington.

What holes or weaknesses do you see in their game ?
I’m excited to fight Gillian simply because of her popularity, that’s about it. Faith may not have many fights under her belt but she’s really tough and always improving. I don’t expect either fight to be an easy win.

What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
I hope to inspire other women. My motto is “live the life you want.” And I say that because I did everything for the wrong reasons. There’s a lot of societal pressure for women to get married and have kids. I would like to have kids someday but right now I just want to fight.

Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
Hands down women’s MMA pioneer Gina Carano. She was an inspiration to a lot of us. Gina was at the highpoint of her fighting career when I first started following MMA.

Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport ?
Ronda Rousey. She brought a lot of fans into the sport and opened the doors for women in the UFC.

How would you describe your fighting style ?
I have heavy hands and heavy kicks. The only person that exchanged punches with me for 3 rounds straight was Anna Dempster. Everyone else either closed the distance or tried to take me down. I prefer stand-up fighting.

What drives or motivates you ?

What is something people might not know about you ?
I have a master’s degree.

What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
If I didn’t pursue fighting I probably would be working in Europe somewhere. I was looking for change and traveling has always been on my bucket list.

What gets you hyped up for a fight do you have any pre fight rituals that get you ready to go to battle ?
The weight cut for sure. The sacrifice it takes to get ready for a fight makes me want to kill somebody by the time I walk in the cage.

Who is your favorite fighter ?
Julian “Juicy J” Erosa.

When you’re not training what do you like to do with your free time ?
I live for the outdoors. I love camping, hiking, hunting, snowboarding, rock climbing, etc. I also very much enjoy art, playing the guitar and singing.

What advice can you give to young female fighters ?
Don’t stop. If you’re willing to put in the time, and are truly passionate about it, you will get better. Keep showing up to practice or try a different gym.

Where do you see women’s MMA in the next 5-10 years ?
More and more women are beginning to train. They are now growing up in the sport. I expect to see a lot more talent coming into the UFC over the next few years.

Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
My professor/coach Rich Guerin. I had zero confidence coming into this sport. He saw a fighter before I ever did. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be training. I’m not going to lie. This is a tough sport. Find a coach that pushes you but is also willing to adapt to his fighters.