“Watch this space.”

It’s a saying that realtors and retailers will often use in droves. And it’s also the catchcry by which Kerry Barrett lives her life. Now that she is pushing the age of 40, she finds herself, after seven years of martial arts training, ready to take a good run at the world’s fastest growing sport.

“I started training on my 33rd birthday,” she revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I decided to treat myself to a martial arts program so that I could try and lose weight. When I joined up, I was 114 kilograms [251 pounds], so my main goal was to cut down. Once I started training though, I was hooked.”

Competitive sport had always been in Barrett’s nature, even before her mission to lose weight. She competed in numerous sports and excelled in them, so an attempt to excel in MMA was just natural progression for her.

“Even though I was overweight, I came from a sporting background,” she explained. “Every sport I had done before, I had competed at a [representative] level. I have always done things to the best of my ability, that’s just my nature.”

With the UFC including women’s MMA bouts in its lineup, there have been many new firsts in the sport—the first mom to enter the Octagon, the first women to fight in the UFC—and the list will seemingly go on as women are featured more and more on the sport’s biggest stage. One thing that is absent from that list and yet to be achieved is the first grandmother to fight, but Barrett is on the verge of claiming that distinction when she steps into the BRACE cage.

“I think I could be the world’s first grandmother in the sport,” she laughed. “I have four kids and two grandchildren. I am certainly not a conventional grandmother. A lot of people say I don’t look my age; I personally think I look older, especially as I have been losing a lot of weight to get to 65 [kg].”

When people hear the term “grandmother,” they often picture a lady who is elderly, boring and perhaps even enjoys the pastime of knitting. Barrett is anything but that stereotypical image. Throughout the world, there are numerous other examples of grandmothers who do the same, but there aren’t any known examples of ones who partake in the sport of MMA.

“I think I am a cool grandmother,” Barrett exclaimed. “You know what kids are like though—mums are always uncool [laughs]. When I first started training I took my boys with me. My oldest was training for a [Muay] Thai fight at the time, so it was pretty cool to be training with them. He doesn’t train anymore, but I have inspired one of my daughters to train and to start fighting.”

Barrett goes into her BRACE 20 fight on May 25 on the back of a unanimous decision victory at the BRACE: All Girls card in October of 2012. She finds herself matched up against Arlene “Angerfist” Blencowe. Both fighters have had just one professional bout, but Barrett also sports victories in Muay Thai, along with an amateur MMA bout.

“I never underestimate anybody,” she explained. “Every opponent that I have fought, I always think that they are dangerous. I never go into a fight thinking that I am better than anybody, because anything can happen. I always respect my opponent because they have worked just as hard as me. No matter what, I just go on there and do my best.”

Age is a big factor in the sport. It’s not often that a fighter can make a run at success in such a late part of their life. Barrett is conscious that the time that she has left to compete professionally will run out sooner rather than later, but for the time being she is focused on being the best fighter that she can be.

“All the opponents I have faced [in combat sports] have been in [their] 20s, and I won,” she admitted. “So age is just a number. I would like to get as much experience as possible. I feel that I can give this 100 percent and just go out and do my best and make people proud. If I ever thought my age was a problem, I would pull the pin straight away.”

No matter what the result is at BRACE 20, one thing will be certain, Kerry Barrett will go out and give it her all. Having already proved that she can keep up inside the cage, there is no doubt that everybody will be “watching this space” as this grandmother makes her late surge onto the Australian MMA circuit.

Kerry would like to thanks Gamebred Submission Fighting for their help and support in the preparation for her fight. She would also like to thank her coaches, Brendon O’Reilly, Nathan Ross, Eilleen Forrest, Freddy Capes, Jarrett Owen and all of her training partners, including Tim Zosh, Bec Hyatt and Ben Wall. Follow BRACE on Twitter: @BRACEMMA.

Photo: Kerry Barrett (L) will face off with Arlene Blencowe at BRACE 20 (BRACE MMA)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.