The fight game is full of twists and turns, but when fate comes calling, risk can easily be turned into reward.

It’s been a whirlwind last few months for 23-year-old strawweight “Rowdy” Bec Hyatt. With just five fights on her resume, the Queensland, Australia native finds herself not only travelling to the United States to compete as the first Australian in the Invicta cage, but also challenging for the promotion’s inaugural 115-pound championship.

Originally slated to face Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood in the first bout of the main card on Jan. 5 in Kansas City, Kan., Hyatt was called on to replace an injured Claudia Gadelha in the main event against Carla Esparza. It’s an opportunity that the young fighter simply couldn’t pass up.

“I actually broke down into tears when my manager told me,” a candid Hyatt told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “This was a goal I had been working towards, and to be the first-ever Australian signed by the organization is an honor that I don’t take lightly. If you’re a female in this sport right now, Invicta is the pinnacle and where everyone should be aiming to be. I can’t wait to prove how tough us Aussies really are!”

Hyatt (Peter Soulis)

Facing Esparza is a tall order for any fighter, regardless of their experience, but Hyatt is riding a four-fight winning streak into the fight and is ready to play spoiler come Saturday night.

“There is no doubt that this is the biggest stage I have fought on and my toughest opponent as well,” said Hyatt. “What is different for me is that I don’t feel any pressure coming into this fight, being that I’m the underdog and not many people expect me to win. It’s something I could get used to! I have nothing to lose, everything to gain and I can’t wait to showcase my skills.”

While she has yet to compete outside of her home country, Hyatt has put too much effort into preparing to fight to let the long flight to Kansas City affect her psyche leading up to the bout.

“This is actually the first time I’ve left Australia, so I have never experienced jet lag or anything like that,” admitted the fighter. “The travel, time zone difference and climate change hasn’t been as big a shock to my system as I thought it would be to be honest.

“At the end of the day, I’ve trained my ass off to fight, and regardless of whether or not I’m jet-lagged or whatever, there can be no excuses on Jan. 5.”

The reality of the situation is just now starting to sink in for the fighter. Her never-say-die attitude and work ethic have propelled her this far, and she’s ready for anything when the cage door shuts.

“To be fighting for a world title already—which should be the end goal for all MMA fighters—is amazing and surreal to me,” said Hyatt. “I only started training less than three years ago and had my son Enson in between that time, so to say that I’m only beginning to tap into my potential would be an understatement!

“I have so much to learn not only when it comes to technique, but about fighting itself, and this is really just the beginning of my journey. A lot of people seem to think I’m a very experienced fighter, but the truth is, I’m not. For what I lack in experience, I make up for with athletic ability and a giant chip on my shoulder.”

Further fueling Hyatt’s motivation and excitement for her Invicta debut is the added exposure of Australian MMA and carrying the torch for other fighters.

“When it comes to female MMA in Australia, there have been many talented female fighters before me, but none have had even a quarter of the exposure I have had,” explained the Brisbane-based fighter. “I believe I’m in the best position to build WMMA in Australia right now and feel that I’m doing a fairly good job at it. I’m looking to take full advantage of this opportunity so that more Australian females can follow in my footsteps.”

Hyatt (bottom) attacks with an armbar (Joshua Stebbings)

Although a last-minute change in opponents is always a tough situation for any fighter, Hyatt is relishing the chance to take on a highly-ranked adversary such as Esparza.

“I have more to prove now than ever before,” she proclaimed. “I’m anxious and excited about this fight, and what better way of proving that I belong than upsetting the No. 4-ranked 115-pound female fighter in the world?

“This is the type of opportunity that you don’t pass up, as you never know when or if it will come again. I have a full eight-week camp behind me and I’m in the best shape of my life. I can’t wait!”

One of the biggest reasons that Hyatt has been able to avoid being overwhelmed by the prospect of facing the talented Esparza is her camp’s preparation. Even though they weren’t anticipating a clash with the wrestling stalwart, their game plan and Hyatt’s straightforward attitude will allow Hyatt to feel comfortable in the cage no matter where the fight may go.

“My team and I always study my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day, I go out there focusing on what I’m going to do,” revealed Hyatt. “A lot of my camp for Calderwood was wrestling based, but I’m not naive to the fact that Carla is an exceptional wrestler and that if she really wants to take me down, she can.

“It’s no secret what I like to do, and that’s throw down hard. If I’m able to keep this fight standing or if she is keen to put on a show and see who drops first, I think this is going to be a very exciting fight.

“If not, I guess my guard game is where I will have to work the hardest during the fight and not let her get into the positions she likes. Even though Carla is known as a wrestler, you would be a fool to believe she is afraid to strike, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this fight plays out from her end.

“Carla is a complete martial artist and what’s the worst that could possibly happen to me? I get knocked out (been there, experienced that) or taken down? Big deal. On paper, this fight is considered a mismatch, but luckily fights aren’t decided on paper!”

Hyatt (rear) chokes her opponent (Peter Soulis)

So, what would pulling off a huge upset and winning Invicta gold mean to the 23-year-old mother of two?

“To bring home a championship title would be a whole other ball game. It would change my life, but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch,” said Hyatt. “I have to get past a higher-ranked, more experienced and very talented fighter in Carla Esparza before I even start thinking about any of that. I look forward to this exciting challenge!”

Even if Hyatt comes up short in her title quest, there’s nothing but positive gains from stepping up to take on Esparza. However, don’t expect her to roll over for her opponent.

“It’s certainly a win-win situation for me, as no matter what, my fight career benefits from this unique opportunity in WMMA history. How many fighters can say that they fought for the inaugural Invicta FC 115-pound title? Only two!” declared Hyatt.

“This opportunity wasn’t something I was going to turn down under any circumstances, and I would be a fool to take it for granted how dangerous Carla is. Make no mistake though—if you think I have flown halfway across the world, spent over 27 hours in transit and left my two children behind for New Year’s to give Carla an easy night, you obviously don’t know me yet.”

Bec would like to thank her trainers at Impact MMA, her sponsors Unrivaled, Flex Nutrition, Tussle Fight Wear, Manion Plumbing, MMAApparel.com, Hoodstar, Awakening, Promo Shack, Kevrimney.com, NRF Australia, Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia, Ringcard Girls International, MMA-QLD.com, ACR Security Protections and Crossbone Tattoos. Check out her official website and follow her on Twitter: @RowdyBec

Top Photo: Bec Hyatt (Facebook.com/penghuynh)

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The MMA Corner Staff

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  • With Bec’s attitude and her determination ,your’e interview has the making of being a fantastic sory for MMA .The Planets have all lined up for Bec ,it would be great to pull it off .Damian B