“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
― Winston S. Churchill
I’ve had a lot of great opportunities come my way in life. Like most people, I’ve taken some and missed some but the worst feeling of all after one of these chances brushes before your eyelids is a feeling of regret that leaves the lingering question of ‘What if?’ in the back of your head for the remainder of your days.
Bec Hyatt had a great opportunity come her way and thankfully she seized it, and has no plans of letting it go. The pocket-sized Australian hadn’t even left her native Country before so stepping foot in the Invicta Fighting Championships cage was going to be an accomplishment on her resume but fighting for a championship with five fights on her record was more than even she could have fathomed.
Originally pegged to face unbeaten Scottish Muay-Thai champion Joanne Calderwood, when an injury to headliner Claudia Gadelha opened the door for her to meet one of her favorite girls in the game in top-ranked strawweight Carla Esparza she broke down into tears of joy.
“I woke up at 5AM with an E-Mail from Invicta saying opponent change and my stomach sunk,” Bec says “I was like ‘not again’ but as we opened it, it said ‘would you fight Carla Esparza for the title’ because it turns out Claudia [Gadelha] has broken her nose in five different places and they were frantically looking for a replacement for Carla [Esparza] and had offered the fight to a few girls, including my old opponent Joanne [Calderwood] and everyone turned it down but I’m not one to turn down fights and this is a big opportunity” she told MMASucka.com
Her road to challenging for the inaugural 115-pound championship hasn’t been an easy one, it’s been a bumpy road packed with twists and turns but the Impact MMA standout feels this is what she was put on this planet to do.
“I was a tomboy. I didn’t look like a boy but all of us kids got into sports and we were quite rough, we grew up on a farm actually and I was always getting dirty and rough and I was still girly but I had a competitive streak when I competed in sports against the boys and stuff,”
She continued “My brother used to pay me and my elder sister 20 cents, 50 cents or whatever he had on him and he and his friends would stand around and watch us fight [laughs] It was a total cat fight – Pulling hair, pinching, and scratching so I guess that’s where it all started”
If you’ve seen photos of the once beaten 23-year-old you might find it hard to believe that she once struggled with being overweight. In her late-teens-to-early-twenties she estimates that she weighed up to 80 kilos [176 pounds] but admits she was afraid to even step foot on the scales.
As fate would have it, joining a kickboxing gym wasn’t just a kick in the right direction for her health and her forthcoming career as a professional face puncher but it was also where she met her husband, fellow Austalian fighter Dan ‘The riot’ Hyatt.
“I started kickboxing to lose weight and that’s where I met my husband who has had MMA fights and was running an MMA gym in Launceston [Tasmania] and he convinced me to come along and join the club since I was a little iffy about grappling with sweaty and smelly men but he got me to do one class and I loved it and never looked back” she said.
It’s been said that when you get this bug, it’s a hard one to shake and it was no surprise to her or her family that soon enough she would be stepping foot inside a fighting surface but this process was slowed slightly when she fell pregnant with her second child named after MMA pioneer Enson Inoue.
“[My parents] weren’t too surprised at all, like I said I was always a bit of a tomboy and competitive in every sport I’ve ever done so when they knew I started training MMA they thought it was great I was getting fit and they knew competing was only the next step” she explained.
“I had trained a little bit in Tasmania and then I fell pregnant with Enson so I took some time off and we moved up to Queensland to further opportunities and further my training and that’s where I began my camp so I had only been training for about 10 months [before her first fight].”
Meeting unbeaten Australian fighter Rhiannon Thompson in her debut affair she just wanted to get in there and scrap and ultimately being over-eager cost her big time, going down in flames to a devastating head-kick that rung her bell.
“I love that fight, it’s one of my favorite fights. I went in there, didn’t know what to expect and I just went crazy [laughs] you can see the intent in my facial expressions, I just wanted to knock her out and that’s probably where I went wrong” She continued “I tried too hard and I just made a stupid mistake and dropped my hands while I was circling off and got kicked in the head and knocked out but I definitely learned a lot from that experience”
There’s a photo out there of Bec following her first and only setback – Her corner men circle her as a doctor steps in to check on her and there’s a far-away look in her eyes. As if the lights were on but nobodies home. Most there that night in Hobart, Tasmania probably expected her to call it quits that night after a thudding loss, but Hyatt says that they obviously just don’t know her.
She picked her groggy carcass off the floor that night, brushed herself off and within weeks was back in the gym and preparing for round two. Since then she has rung off four-straight victories that inevitably got the attention of Invicta and began this whirlwind past few months.
“It’s hard to find girls in Australia at my weight that have the experience. I mean people say ‘She’s had no fights on her record’ or whatever but all the girls I faced all had more fights than me in other areas like Muay-Thai or kickboxing,” She continued “It was good to get fights and get the experience but I’m ready to step up the competition now so Invicta couldn’t have come sooner” she says.
She enters the cage with naysayers who question the validity of her meeting a world-renowned fighter on less than two weeks’ notice and she has every intention of proving them all wrong as she enters a position with nothing to lose and everything in the world to gain.
“Haters are everywhere [laughs] they done phase me and don’t understand the fight game, where I came from and what I’m all about. When an opportunity like this comes you have to take it and I will prove my worth on January 5 and I’ll shut the haters up” she said with conviction.
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