Originally from a small town in Northern Ontario, Kayla Matton grew up playing basketball, volleyball, and soccer. She works hard at a not-for-profit agency during the day – taking care of individuals with developmental disabilities – and by night she trains to fight in one of the most brutal sports of today.
How did you get started in MMA?
I was using the gym next door and would always be checking out the classes going on at my current club. I finally tried a BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) class and eventually started doing all classes. In September of 2011, I decided to start training to fight.
What do you enjoy the most about the sport?
I enjoy being able to constantly learn and see progression. It’s one of those sports where you can never say you know everything there is to know. It’s limitless.
Walk us through a typical week of training for a female fighter.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I usually do MMA and Muay Thai technique mixed with cardio. Tuesday and Thursday, I do BJJ and cardio. During a camp, I also do sparring and train on Sundays. I also do a private session with my coach which includes cardio, strength training, technique, and light sparring. I try to get in at least 3 hours a day. Mix that with full time work and that’s my life.
Do you get nervous before you fight? How do you handle it?
My first fight, I didn’t get nervous until I was walking out to the cage. Once I was in, everything was quiet. For my next fight, I’m pretty much dealing with it by not thinking about my opponent. I try to focus on my fight.
Who inspires you?
My dad inspires me. It’s simple. He always worked hard and never gave up in anything he did. I try to do this in every aspect of my life. Fighting is just one way to push those boundaries.
What are your feelings about women in the UFC (Ronda Rousey) vs. an all female promotions such as Invicta?
I feel that it’s a great thing for women to be on equal playing fields. Ronda Rousey being in the UFC has brought WMMA to a great spot. However, without promotions like Invicta, there would be no avenue for women in MMA.
What do you feel are some of the unique challenges that women face in the fight game? What are some of the benefits?
Some of the challenges for women in fighting, regardless of the type of fighting, are mostly related to respect. When I first started training some guys would treat me like a fragile parcel. This makes learning very hard. It seems even in this century women are still seen as being weaker. Once I was able to show that I could take a beating and give a beating things changed. The benefit of this is that once you’ve gained respect you never have to worry about someone hurting you. You have a bunch of brothers standing up for you. At least at my gym, that’s how it works.
If you were able to eat one thing and it would have no effect on your weight, what would you like it to be?
Hmm…. I love food, all food, so this is a tough one. I guess really the best way to put this is not having limits on how much bad food I can eat in a day, is what I would like.
What is your favourite thing about your body?
My favourite thing about my body is that no matter how much weight I drop, I’m still able to keep my bum.
If you could change any one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m pretty comfortable with who I am but if I had to change anything it would be my height. Just a few inches would be useful.
What is the one exercise you feel every woman should have in their workout routine?
Pullups. It makes you stronger and it builds those small muscles we normally don’t think of.
Any words of wisdom for women looking to get in shape?
Don’t set your goals so high that failure is the only outcome. Don’t do it for the wrong reasons. If it’s not fun to some degree it’s not worth it.
Any sponsors, teammates etc you would like to promote or mention?
I don’t have sponsors yet but it would be nice to have some. I would like to thank the MMAU fambam who are always behind me. My coaches Altemar, Tim and mostly Orestes who understands what it’s like to be the smaller fighter, who always pushes me to my limits.
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