Austrian kickboxer Jasminka Cive looks to run her streak of consecutive knockouts to five when she opposes Australian Bec Hyatt on April 5th at Invicta FC 5.
With an extensive and championship caliber resume in Muay Thai, Cive is looking to become a champion in MMA as well. Running her own gym, along with her own fight promotion, Cive is engrained in every aspect of the MMA world. With bad blood between herself and Hyatt, fans should not look away when she enters the cage on April 5th in Kansas City.
Corey Smith: Your gateway into the world of mixed martial arts was karate, which was followed by Muay Thai and Kickboxing. How did you first get into martial arts? At what point to did you decide to do it as more than a hobby?
Jasminka Cive: I was only 10 years old as I started Karate in Belgrade, Serbia. The reason was my elder sister, who was stronger than me and always won our fight/wrestling-games!
JC: I decided to fight only 3 weeks after my training started, and so I did!
CS: Your father was an officer in Serbian army, who decided to move the family to Austria when the conflict between Serbia and Bosnia became too dangerous. How did this move shape your life and career in MMA?
JC: When I moved to Austria with my family I was a 12 year old child. I think it was a good decision for my father to move away. Here I could get a better life and pursue my career (in the end). It made me the person that I am today.
CS: After a few years of not training, you began an extensive and championship level Muay Thai career. What did you enjoy about Muay Thai? And how aware of MMA were you at this point?
JC: I started with kickboxing and Muay Thai when I was 16 years old, I trained this style from 1998-2010. During this time I had difficult injuries, and I had to undergo 4 operations in all.
CS: Why do you believe Muay Thai as a sport is not as popular in the United States as it is in Europe or Asia compared to MMA?
JC: I really don’t know this for certain, but I think Americans or Russians have a lot of exposure to wrestling, that makes it easier to understand MMA. Also in my opinion it’s much more spectacular than Muay Thai or boxing.
CS: You suffered some career threatening injuries to your knee and hand during your Muay Thai career. Three knee surgeries and another on your hand left you unable to compete for four years. What was that time period like for you, being unable to compete?
JC: My wound healing was terrible after every surgery and I could not fight for a long time. 4 years long in total. Always nearly one year after an operation.
JC: It was partially my fault, because I can’t rest, I always want to go to the gym and push and push. I think I never got enough rest after my surgeries, I always went to the fitness center! Crazy, I know, but that’s me, I want to go full blast, all the time.
CS: At what point did you decide to switch entirely over to MMA?
JC: 2010 I came back and felt stronger than ever I won a Muay Thai title and MMA was only just another sport at this time that got me interested.
JC: I was referee in a MMA-fight and I was so excited about this I loved it from the first time and decided to do it myself. Only 5 weeks later I made my MMA debut and won by submission!
CS: You currently reside in Austria, and run your own fighting promotion named MixFight Night. How are the challenges of running your own promotion different from the challenges of the cage?
JC: There are 2 very important things in my life. The first one is my job, it is the Mixfight-Night and the promotion of it. Then I have my training for the fights, this is the time where I relax. In these hours I can switch on and off and don´t care about appointments and what I have to do. So this is the difference and I big reason for loving what I do.
JC: The Mixfight Night is one of the biggest events in Austria, with high caliber athletes from WFC or UFC-Fighters like Nandor Guelmino etc. Also this year we got some of Germany’s Top 10 athletes on the card. I am excited!
CS: How would you describe the MMA environment in Europe compared to the United States?
JC: MMA is becoming more popular in Europe, also very fast, but it needs some more years to get the same status like in the U.S. A TV deal is important to push this evolution – and of course to educate the viewers.
CS: April 5th against Bec Hyatt will be your first fight for Invicta FC. What has your experience been like with the company so far?
JC: Invicta is awesome, I always dreamt to fight for them – and finally I can. I was very disappointed about the last one, where I couldn’t come (IFC2), but this time I am even more excited. They do, and already did, a lot for WMMA – that´s making the difference.
JC: I was on the Invicta FC 2 Fightcard but some visa troubles hindered me, but this time I will be coming for sure.
CS: Your opponent at Invicta FC 5, Bec Hyatt, has promised a knock out. How familiar are you with Hyatt? And what do you expect out of the fight?
JC: Willi says Bec is talking a lot of smack and is doing more promos/facebook etc. than training and it seems like she is on Facebook 23 hours a day. She also talked a lot of smack about me and my fiancée, which got him involved in it. I saw that only days later, because as you know I am not that often on FB. Basically first he told her months ago to train more instead of using FB, because he saw her on some show (again)- he didn’t mean it in a bad way (he told me). After that she accused him of being roided and ugly – and I guess the smack talk started there. Me, for my part, I really don´t care what she says, I hardly read it (only read it some days ago, because one Australian fan of mine linked me to it).
JC: I asked my fiancée not to get involved anymore. I mean I know he wants to protect me and all, after Bec talked about me, then said he is using roids and laughed about his tattoos and much more happened in the last days. Understandable that he fought back, verbally! But knowing that I don’t read and care what Bec says he agreed not to get involved anymore. Bec always plays innocent when it comes to such things, after provoking I guess. I don’t want to play this kindergarten-games, this puts a bad light on our beautiful sport.
JC: People that know me, know that in all of my 30 fights I show nothing but respect to my opponents, fans and promoters, and this won´t change now. Bec doesn´t seem to honor this warrior spirit. On the other hand, Bec is only 24 years old, it´s understandable that she behaves that way. She also said she wants to KO me. I doubt that, because that has never happened before. I will try to do the same instead. Like I said, she talks a lot, but if you follow my Twitter posts you realize I don’t really, I just want to have fun (and I am having a lot right now.) I do my talking in the cage.
JC: About the fight: Sure, that’s what the fans want to see. High paced action! Of course I want to finish the fight, but I am always ready for 3 rounds!
Have you seen my new Highlight video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFvuNTAgsjg&feature=youtu.be
CS: Your fiancé Willi Ott is also a fighter, and you jointly run a gym in Austria. What does it mean for your career to have a fellow fighter as a spouse?
JC: This is the best relationship I ever had, we train together and when we have different minds we can clear it at some sparring! Honestly, we work very well together and also evolve with our fighting style every day in the gym. It’s a win/win.
CS: What types of challenges do you encounter while running your own gym, along with the promotion, and fighting yourself?
JC: I have to meet lot of people, make appointments and drive so many kilometers This is a really hard job when you have to do all things at same time like now. My event is on the 30th of March and I fly only 2 days later to Invicta, but I am unbreakable and this is what I really believe in! It is my dream, and I love it.
CS: When you aren’t doing any of the duties listed above, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun?
JC: I have a little dog, his name is “Hope” and I spend time with him whenever I can.
CS: Lastly, MMA is as much a team sport as it is an individual sport. Who would you like to thank?
JC: I want to thank you for the interview and Invicta in general for giving me the chance to fight for them and all my fans and MMA-supporters. I love you all!