If you were to look at the various forms of martial arts and compare them to the basic fundamentals of going through higher education, you would notice a lot of similarities. You learn, you make mistakes, you continue to learn and with university, if you take out what you see in the movies, you pretty well dedicate your life to procuring your degree.

Maryanne Mullahy’s degree comes in the form of a Bachelor of Science and with her tenure at university nearing its end, the 25-year-old will get to delve into her love of martial arts even more so than before.

Having just one fight for one win to her name, Mullahy’s last fight was on the first Australian all-women’s mixed martial arts card put on by BRACE on Oct. 27, 2012. She won her fight by submission in the second round, and it has been almost a year since she has competed professionally. Her next fight is on Aug. 31, when she competes in the one-night elimination tournament for the Storm Damage featherweight title. Although it has been a long time since she has competed professionally, it hasn’t been a year wasted.

Mullahy (Facebook)

“I am doing the final year of my Bachelor of Science, so that has been keeping me busy,” she explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I promised myself that training would take a backseat in the final year of my degree. That hasn’t really happened since I took this fight [laughs]. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t really pass up though.

“I thought that competing in the eight-woman tournament would be something that was really worthwhile. This is the first time that I’ll be competing at 65 [kilos; 143 pounds] as well, so it’s going to be a good experience for me, and it’s the first time that I am really going to have to properly cut weight.”

Whilst having just one professional fight may infer that she lacks experience in competitive action, Mullahy has had some of the best training experiences available to her. Her thirst to continue to learn, which also parallels her dedication to university, has seen her visit some of the world’s elite training camps.

“I have been training in jiu-jitsu for the past 10 years on and off,” she said. “Really, I have just been traveling and training. I’ve spent time in Thailand at Tiger Muay Thai, and that’s where I got really focused on Thai boxing, and I’m hoping to compete in wrestling in the Commonwealth games next year. I guess the reason I got into MMA was so that I could put everything together, and recently I have been training nothing but MMA, so my focus there has increased quite a bit.”

Having traveled and trained and having the opportunity to compete in a lot of the facets that make up mixed martial arts, Mullahy has had the opportunity to test herself in ways that some athletes could never imagine, and it’s something that has helped her continually develop as a fighter.

Mullahy (Facebook)

“I got the chance to compete in freestyle wrestling,” she said. “Wrestling is so intense. Because there weren’t many women competing, I wrestled in the men’s divisions for a match and I did alright to hold my own [laughs]. I didn’t win, but I did win the second round, which I didn’t expect at all. I was used to it a little though. With grappling tournaments and stuff like that, because of the lack of women competing there, I was sometimes in the same situation, and I have competed as a white belt, a blue belt and purple belt against men both in Australia and overseas since I was a teenager.”

With such a dominant focus being put on the grappling side of her training, Mullahy will no doubt try to take the action to the ground, where she is most comfortable. However, true to the name of the sport she is competing in, she realizes the importance of being a fully capable mixed martial artist and doesn’t plan to let her love of grappling influence her potential fights too much.

“I do have a striking background too, so I am happy to keep it standing, but my strength is definitely on the ground,” she admitted. “No matter where the fight ends up, I will be happy and confident, and I will be working hard to finish the first fight early.”

Come Aug. 31 the books will be put down and the end-of-year exams will be the thing to take a backseat in Mullahy’s life. Whilst she may be on the back-end of university, a win at Storm Damage will allow one of the final doors to close in her academic life and allow another to open as she can truly focus on her passion in competing and learning to be the best martial artist she can be.

Maryanne would like to thank William St. Gym and Absolute MMA in helping with her preparation for Storm Damage.

Top Photo: Storm Damage MMA Logo