Dana White’s Contender Series is one of a few methods MMA fighters can take to create their path into the UFC, and Hailey Cowan has her eyes set on a contract. Hailey Cowan is one of 10 athletes who will compete for a place on the UFC roster on August 16th, as she prepares to face Brazil’s Cláudia Leite on week four, season 6.
Cowan enters the matchup holding an impressive 6-2 record, having attained five wins under the LFA banner, before moving onto Invicta FC to secure her most recent victory over Monica Franco.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Hailey Cowan before the biggest fight of her life in order to give the audience a better understanding of the thirty-year-old as a person.
Get to know Hailey Cowan
For those that don’t know and have never watched you fight before. How would you describe your style of fighting? Is there anybody on the current UFC roster you could compare your style to?
I feel like I’m a neutralizer. I neutralize opponents as best as I can and then implement my weapons!
Is there anybody on the current UFC roster you could compare your style to?
Honestly— no. Not in the women’s division! I try to be as much like GSP as I can be, but he’s not currently on the roster, so I guess my answer is no.
What is the earliest memory you have of MMA?
I remember watching from behind the couch as a little kid, unsure if I was allowed to watch, so I’d just kind of peak around the couch and try to see, haha.
Why was it a path you decided you wanted to pursue?
I was an elite athlete my entire life. I graduated college, and I didn’t feel done yet! So I gave MMA a go and fell in love!
Since day one, what have your goals within the sport been?
To be the best in the world. Why do it otherwise?
Talk us through the “Hulk Smash”. Where did that come from?
Haha, I am physically very strong. It’s just kind of something that came about and stuck “Hailey Smash”.
Besides fighting, what other sports do you like to do if given the time?
None, haha I had a very long gymnastics career. No other sports for me. My body has enough mileage.
When not in camp or training, what are some of your favorite things to do to wind down and relax?
I love training. I always train, haha. And hang out with my family and dogs.
How does Hailey Cowan usually approach a fight camp in terms of structure? Do you have a say, or is it all on the coaches? Do you watch tape or leave it to the coaches?
I train in a way to create a path of least resistance for myself. Capitalize on the weaknesses of my opponent and neutralize my strengths. I watch film, but I do what my coaches tell me to in regards to training and game planning.
Who has inspired you the most in your MMA journey?
My head coach/fiancé has inspired my MMA career the most. He has been so good about leading me down the right path, creating my style and helping me be as prepared as possible.
Among the active UFC female roster, who are some of the names you enjoy watching, and who would you like to test yourself against?
I like watching all of the girls! And I’d like to test myself against every one of them.
What is your favourite aspect of mixed martial arts? What do you love the most about the sport?
I think my favorite aspect of MMA is the constant opportunity for growth. The fact that you can always get better and there is always room for improvement is really compelling to me—there’s always something to learn. I love the grind, and I love giving myself to something I am so passionate about.
Who would be your dream fight in the whole of MMA, past or present?
My dream fight would probably have been Ronda [Rousey] at her pinnacle. She’s such a legend. The opportunity to fight the best version of her would have been a dream.
Where do you see yourself 5-years from now?
I see myself defending the UFC belt in 5 years… Ah, chills!
What would it mean to you to gain a UFC contract?
To gain a UFC contract would just be the beginning. To be a UFC fighter has never been the goal—to be the UFC champ has been the goal. I belong there, and know I do. I just need the opportunity.