How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I began training in MMA three years ago. I had done traditional martial arts (Karate and Taekwondo) for about ten years, and the first time I saw Pride I fell in love with it! After that I knew I wanted to learn all of the aspects of the fight game that are involved in mixed martial arts.
Where are you currently training and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I train under Gilbert Melendez at El Nino Training Center in San Francisco. Training is pretty intense right now since I'm in my last hard week before my fight. Today I did and hour of grappling, followed by mitt work and then lifting. My days are always some combination of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, grappling, strength and conditioning. There's so much to cover for MMA it can get overwhelming!
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-First look at your options, what gyms are in your area and then research them. Any that sound like they might be a good fit for you, go down, try a class, and talk to the instructors and some students there. It's important to find a place where you feel comfortable and that you'll be excited and motivated to go to.
What are some of the hurdles that you think Women in MMA need to overcome before Women's MMA will be considered a top level sport like Men's MMA is today?
-Honestly, most casual fans think the UFC is MMA, so until women are fighting in the UFC they're not going to have the same level of recognition and credibility as men. I think that will happen before too long, especially since the Zuffa acquisition of Strikeforce.
When do you think we will see women’s divisions in the UFC?
-I think it will happen by the end of the year. (Fingers crossed.)
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-That's a big question! In MMA, my coach, Gilbert Melendez is a huge inspiration. His attitude and work ethic are awesome. Plus he's an amazing fighter and coach. Julie Kedzie is a great fighter who has been in the scene a long time as far as women's MMA goes. I'm lucky to count her as a friend and have learned tons from her on both the physical and mental aspects of the sport. My training partner Katrine Alendal is in there with me everyday helping me to push myself to be better and she helps keep me sane!
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-A couple of my favorite fighters are on my team - Gilbert Melendez and Nick Diaz. I think Jose Aldo is awesome; I love the action with the smaller weight classes. I'll also always have a soft spot for Genki Sudo, his whole attitude toward the sport is inspirational and he was so fun to watch!
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting? Any hobbies?
-Free time, what's free time? I love taking my dog out to play and swim. There are so many great places to be outdoors in the bay area. I like to go trail running and rock climbing. I also absolutely love to cook and bake, which really kills me when I'm in weight cut mode!
Any future plans or dreams?
-World domination! But for now fighting works. I'll continue with MMA and see how far I can take myself and develop my skills along that path. I'm also a personal trainer just starting to grow out my own business.
Thank you very much for your time Colleen and we can't wait for your fight this Friday. Colleen has an early shout out to her sponsor Sin City Syndicate. To get all the latest news on Colleen be sure to check out her Facebook page and on Twitter @ColleenFights.