Polly Beauchamp - MMA Fighter | Find Your Young Talent
Find your young talent

It’s inside us all. It’s up to everyone to find their young and undiscovered talent, to overcome conventions and pursue our dreams with passion and confidence.

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Polly Beauchamp

MMA Fighter

“I like having a contrast between my work life and home life. I work full-time as a rights manager for a publishing company; my job is to ensure that anything we publish, we have the right to use. I deal with domains, trademarks, music rights – a whole load of stuff.

“My work colleagues think I’m mad, but they’re supportive. The worst bit for them is when I’m injured and I have to take time off to see a doctor because I’ve got a broken nose or something.

“I’m a fairly petite female with a law degree who works in an office, so people may not associate that with getting punched and kicked in the face.”

“A lot of people are quite surprised when they meet me. I’m a fairly petite female with a law degree who works in an office, so people may not associate that with getting punched and kicked in the face. But I like the fact that people think of me as being quite tough; I could probably defend myself if I needed to. Luckily I’ve never been put in the position outside of fighting to have to use my skills, but I think I have a better chance of defending myself than the average five foot female.

“I’ve been competing for about seven years as an amateur strawweight mixed martial arts fighter. I’ve had 12 full contact fights since 2011 – a mixture of boxing, kickboxing and MMA. It’s quite full on, I train six days a week, and if I’m training for a fight I’ll take a day off work to get some extra training in with my head coach. I normally have one full rest day a week to give my body a chance to recover.

“I’ve always been sporty; I did karate from the age of five, and I got my black belt when I was ten. I did karate because all my cousins did it; I was the only girl in the family and all my cousins were rough boys – always play fighting, so I decided I wanted to do that too.

“I started kickboxing at 16, at first I didn’t take it too seriously – I discovered other things being a teenager – but then I started kickboxing competitively at 23, and moved to a different gym that specializes in MMA. At the time I was adamant that I wanted to continue with boxing or kickboxing, I didn’t really get the wrestling or jiu jitsu side of things, but when I started training in MMA I realised it was really good fun to learn new and different techniques, and I won my first couple of MMA fights, so that was good motivation to keep me going.

“It’s completely different when you’re locked in a cage or in a ring with another trained opponent in front of hundreds of people watching you.”

“The first time I went into the ring was in Bridgwater, England. It was quite a big show, I didn’t realise how big it was going to be until I got there. It was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be, but I knew what I was letting myself in for; going up against an opponent who was going to try to kick and punch me! I’d done a lot of training and sparring, but it’s completely different when you’re locked in a cage or in a ring with another trained opponent in front of hundreds of people watching you.

“I thought I was quite fit at the time, but I was knackered. Fighting is very different to training, it’s hard to explain the adrenaline dump you get. The fight was only three rounds of two minutes, but after the second round, I was like, ‘Nope!’ but my coach really pushed me to get back out there, and I ended up winning – it was brilliant.

“Then in February 2015, I had my first MMA fight. Fighting is really exciting; a lot of people would probably hate it, but I like getting in there. When you hit someone, and you watch their head fly back, and you know you have landed hard on them and they like, back up, that feels quite good. I train hard – so I love being able to put myself to the test and showcase what I can do, and people don’t expect to see girls put on really good fights, so it’s almost like I have something more to prove.

“Getting punched in the face isn’t great, but to be honest, in a fight you’re going to get punched in the face, so I just accept it, it’s not something I’m scared of. There was one fight where I got clobbered with a right-hander and thought, ‘I need to be a bit careful here!’ But I’ve probably been hit harder in training, during sparring sessions, than I have in a fight. I’m often training with bigger people than me because I’m a bit small. And although bigger guys appreciate they’re training with a female so they don’t lay it on as hard as they could, their shots are still heavy so when I get hit by a girl my own size… I’ve had worse!

“When the bell goes that’s it – from that moment it’s 100% focus. As soon as that buzzer goes, my mind is on winning.”

“The worst bit for me is the hanging around before the fight starts, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. On fight day I weigh in, have the medical and the rules meeting, and then there’s a bit of waiting, but I just want to get in there and get it done. Walking into the ring is the good bit; when I’m walking out, I’m ready, I’ve been training for it, I’m there to do what I want to do. Then when the ref calls us both to the centre of the ring or the cage, and goes over the rules and we touch gloves, that’s when I feel most nervous – which is weird because I have belief in myself otherwise I wouldn’t be in there. But then we get sent back to our corners and the bell goes – and that’s it – from that moment it’s 100% focus. As soon as that buzzer goes, my mind is on winning.

“The fight always feels like it goes quickly and I don’t have time to think about anything other than beating my opponent – that’s all there is. The only other thing I’m aware of is my head coach shouting instructions at me. I train so hard that it’s just second nature, I just go in and do a job. I never look at anyone when I’m ready to fight, I can hear people calling my name, but I will never look at anyone in the crowd, I don’t want anything to take my focus away. I lock eyes with my opponent and I will not look away.

“They always say you never lose you learn, which is cheesy but kind of true.”

“If I win I feel amazing, but if I lose not so much – it sucks. I put in all that work so it’s disappointing, but I know I’ve trained hard. They always say you never lose you learn, which is cheesy but kind of true, because, looking at the losses I’ve had, I’ve made adjustments to try to prevent it happening again.

“I have to be really strict when I’m training for a fight so winning makes it all worth it. I think diet plays a massive part, so I’m strict with my eating, but I love the discipline; I push it really hard in every session and, even if I am not training for a fight, I’m there to improve myself all the time.

“You need to train hard, but you also have to have the mental state to keep pushing yourself. A lot of people think fighting is purely physical but that’s not the hardest part, it’s your head – you have to push yourself mentally. You can be at the peak of physical fitness, but it’s your mind that’s going to tell you to quit before your body does. You have to envision yourself winning, you have to believe in yourself, that you can win that fight.

“Some of the fittest people at my gym are older, but they put the work in and that’s what’s important: age is a state of mind.”

“I just want to train every day and get better; the more you train and the more effort you put in, the better you’re going to be. Most of it is down to hard work because, to a certain degree, everyone is born the same – you have to push yourself. Some of the fittest people at my gym are older, but they put the work in and that’s what’s important: age is a state of mind. I think I could carry on doing this for years – I want to have a family at some point, but I’d like to think that afterwards, if I did have a family, I could go back to training.

“I want to do everything I do to the best of my ability. I think one of my biggest achievements was doing my law degree when I was working full time alongside training and fighting competitively; so I think whatever you want to do, you’ve just got to go for it. It can be quite daunting, especially as a girl, going into a male dominated martial arts gym, but you’ve just got to go in there and show them that you belong there just as much as they do.

“Don’t let anyone dictate to you what you can and can’t do – you should be able to do whatever you want in your life.”

“Don’t let anyone dictate to you what you can and can’t do – you should be able to do whatever you want in your life.”

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