Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, children of all ages! My-Thai.org is proud to bring to you another unique and interesting interview. This time we will talk with an Australian born female fighter who now lives and trains full-time here in the land of smiles. She is an aspiring mixed martial artist currently training for her MMA and boxing debut. She has competed internationally for Australia in freestyle wrestling and was a member of the 2016 Olympic Shadow Team. She has lots of ambitious goals and a very energetic approach to life and training in particular. Without further ado, give it up for Uyen Ha!
Usually I start with asking my interview guest to introduce themselves. Just a brief intro so readers, who don’t know you yet, get a brief idea of who you are. So, who are you?
My name is Uyen Ha. I am a 19 year old Australian fighter preparing for my MMA debut. Competing at 48kgs, I am currently training out of AKA Thailand and Absolute MMA.
Alright. So now we know that you’re from Australia (I’m jealous!) and currently living in Thailand. Why did you come here?
I moved to Thailand to bring my training to the next level; to train full time at a world-class gym and direct my energy and focus into my career.
Before talking more about what’s happening now and what’s coming up, let’s also talk about your background. Besides fighting, what else do you do?
Aside from fighting, I’m currently completing a double degree in Law and International Relations at the Australian National University via their Athlete program. It’s a tough course, but an area which constantly challenges and stimulates me.
In regards to fighting. When did you start? And what did your parents say? Do they support you or do they always worry about you?
I began my training 3 years ago when I was 16 and started fighting a year ago. My parents do worry, but are starting to accept what I do. The support is growing stronger day by day.
Can you walk us a bit more through your fighting life? What did you start first? When did you decide that’s not just enough?
Starting not long ago, my training began with MMA as its own form. From there, I branched out with Muay Thai, Western Boxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu and Freestyle Wrestling in order to develop an all rounded skillset.
I saw a few of your posts from competitions. You do compete in different styles, don’t you?
Though MMA is my primary focus, I have fought in Muay Thai and competed in freestyle wrestling internationally. I plan to continue expanding my involvement in individual styles in order to develop skills from each discipline that are conveyable to MMA.
Now at AKA, what’s your focus there? MMA? Muay Thai? Is there any Martial Art that you prefer over the other or is there any that you don’t necessarily like?
My focus at AKA Thailand is MMA. I have my preferences and I love western boxing. However, irrespective of whether you enjoy some disciplines or not, they all need to be covered in the realm of Mixed Martial Arts.
Related to above. The old question. What’s better: Stand-up or ground game?
Both are as deadly as the other. The fundamental key to MMA is balance. While it’s handy to have a base and your ‘go to’, you can’t be complacent. Great strikers with good wrestling and high level grapplers with good standup are often the guys to watch out for.
A photo posted by Uyen Ha (@uyen___) on
When did you have your first real fight and how did it feel getting ‘hurt’ for the first time?
I had my first fight over a year ago when I had just turned 18. Getting hit felt like another day at training, but it was the atmosphere and energy that had me coming back for more.
Are you scared or afraid to lose when you fight?
The thought of losing does come across my mind. But at the end of the day, fighting is my passion. I will train as hard as I can to make sure that I take the victory. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and losing is just a facet of the game. You learn from what went wrong, get back to the gym and come back a better version. That’s all it is.
Are you angry when you compete? Or do you need to get pumped up?
I bring a lot of passion and heart when I fight. It is not anger, but fire.
Do you feel bad or sorry for hurting an opponent?
Nobody enters the cage not expecting to get hurt. Fighting is an art of its own that facilitates a pure physical struggle. So no, I don’t feel bad – it’s strictly business and it is anticipated.
What part of training is the worst for you? What part do you like the most?
I genuinely enjoy every aspect of training. I love learning and developing new skills and refining old ones. Some days are mentally exhausting due to the high level of training that we do, but I push through them and it’s all for my benefit.
Since we’re on my-thai.org, also some quick questions about Thailand. I take you haven’t been here for that long yet but what makes Thailand, Thailand for you? Anything that stands out in particular?
Living in Phuket is paradise for a fighter. Hard training mixed with island life. I love Thailand’s easygoing nature and being able to ride to the beautiful ocean within minutes.
Do you miss anything from home while being here?
There are a lot of things I miss about Melbourne – the culture, the food, and the company of old friends. However, Phuket is where I belong right now and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
In my interview with JWP he hated on weight cutting ;-) – How do you feel about that? Do you have to cut weight when you prepare for a competition?
Weight cutting is one of the toughest aspects of combat sports. I don’t have a significant amount to cut, but it does take a toll mentally.
How often do you usually compete?
I try to keep active with competitions where I can. This year has been dedicated to competing in freestyle wrestling every couple of months or so.
Do you have any favorite martial artist? Someone you look up to?
Mike Tyson. His style, aggression and vigour inspire me to my core.
Alright. Down to the nitty gritty. Did you ever have devastating loss? How did you feel afterwards? How did you handle it and could you take away something from it?
I’ve never had a devastating loss. I’m currently coming off a loss in my last Muay Thai fight and some competitions, however these were the most valuable experiences. It’s about picking yourself up, returning and improving each time.
Did you ever get injured?
My last Muay Thai fight left me with a broken rib. Other than that, no worries.
How does a normal training day look like? Is it all planned out or do you have to do weight training and cardio by yourself?
My schedule at AKA is set out simply: MMA in the morning, grappling in the afternoon. Day in, day out.
What’s your take on fighting (thanks to UFC for example) becoming more popular now. Lots of people seem to go to gyms because it’s ‘cool’ now. Is that a good thing?
The exposure and growing popularity of the sport is crucial for fighters. Of course it’s a good thing. We need to be promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. If the rising status of MMA means that more and more people are getting exercise, then that’s an achievement in itself.
Who do you like to watch fighting these days?
I love watching Conor McGregor, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Even more so, I love watching my teammates fight. To see their dedication and countless hours in the gym finally expressed in the cage is so special to me.
Is there any particular venue or event where you would want to compete at?
UFC headliner at the MGM Grand.
What other talents do you have, besides fighting?
Martial arts, visual arts… I love all forms of art. Whether that be illustration, photography or writing.
What’s your worst trait? Anything that people make fun of or that you don’t like? (e.g. clumsy, etc.)
Though not something I care about, people love to make fun of my size. 4’11 and 48kgs doesn’t seem very intimidating in a male dominated sport.
I saw on your posts that you have a tattoo. Is there a meaning behind it? Will you get another one (maybe even here in Thailand?).
My tattoos represent victory, strength, and the acceptance of life and death. I actually got my first tattoo here in Thailand… who knows what the future holds.
What’s next for you? Any immediate and long-term plans?
I am currently preparing for my pro boxing debut and am still waiting for confirmation of an opponent.
As for long term, I am taking the time out to train hard and develop my skills before I take on the world of MMA. Big plans ahead and big things coming, so follow the journey!
That’s almost it, time for your famous last words:
105, I’m coming.
A photo posted by Uyen Ha (@uyen___) on
Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this. I know spare time is rare so I appreciate it a lot!
If you want to see more of Uyen follow her on instagram or snapchat (uy.ha)! Do it! Do it!
And if you like this interview, check out more of our My-Thai.org Interviews.