REBECCA Steward was plagued by the thought: ‘Oh my God, I have to hit this girl’ before her first mixed martial arts fight.
Two wins and a loss later, the Border’s only female MMA fighter has conquered that thought.
“I had to tell myself, ‘I’m not fighting not to lose, I’m fighting to win’,” Miss Steward, 21, said yesterday.
“It’s all about getting in the right mindset before a fight.”
After wins in November 2011 and last August, Steward said she felt “twice as strong” as she had before.
The self-described “gentle child” said she had never expected to get into the ring.
Steward, who was a competitive judo practitioner in her teens, turned to mixed martial arts after a friend recommended it to her.
The intense training helped her shed 25 kilograms, and she had to learn to ignore her years of judo to learn how to strike opponents.
“There has definitely been a learning curve in terms of being aggressive but, on the whole, it’s gone really well.” Steward said.
She lost her third bout in October to a “more technical, probably just a better fighter”.
“For me, fighting is about learning what I’m capable of and, in that sense, I learn from every bout I fight.
“The first time I walked into the ring I was thinking to myself, why am I doing this?
“But I’m convinced that it’s the best thing I could have done.”