The “Killer Bunny” Katja Kankaanpaa returns to the Invicta FC cage in search of gold when she challenges Stephanie Eggink for the vacant World Strawweight Title September 6th at Invicta FC 8.
Corey Smith: Your last appearance in the Invicta FC cage, you suffered the first defeat of your career, a decision loss to Joanne Calderwood. Most athletes agree you learn more from your defeats than your wins. What did you learn?
KK: Most of all, I learned a lot on the mental side. The fight was tough and if I had been mentally stronger, the decision could have gone the other way. I thought that I was ready, but didn’t trust myself enough to take the win.
CS: You bounced back with a submission victory this past May. How important was it for you to stay active outside the Invicta cage?
KK: It was very important because otherwise the pause from fighting would have been too long. When fights are in steady intermissions you can keep a good touch to fighting. It also was very nice to have a fight at my home country, especially since it had been so long since my last fight here in Finland.
CS: Most fighters list the weight cut as the hardest aspect of being a fighter. Setting that aside, what do you consider the hardest aspect of being a fighter?
KK: Lack of time. Sometimes it’s hard to schedule my day. I have a day job and when I add in training to my day schedule, I haven’t much free time left.
CS: Invicta FC recently signed a content distribution deal with the UFC, specifically all future Invicta bouts will be available via UFC Fight Pass. What were your thoughts when you first heard about the deal?
KK: Its huge thing and big step for Women’s MMA.
CS: Your bout on September 6th at Invicta FC 8, will be for the vacant Strawweight championship. How familiar are you with your opponent, Stephanie Eggink? What do you believe is the key to the matchup?
KK: I’m not so familiar. I just watched a couple of fight videos of hers, so that’s it. I just need to believe in myself and do my own things in the fight. I’m a well rounded fighter and I think if I just fight on my own level I can win the fight.
CS: The bout will see a new champion crowned in the Invicta FC Strawweight division. Does this carry any added pressure for you?
KK: I hope not =) I try to think that this fight is just one fight among others but I’m not sure if that works because I’m excited being in the title fight.
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
KK: My manager and one of my coaches are with me in the cage. I just need simple instruction in a fight.
CS: For those that have not experienced it, how would you describe the walk out to the cage?
KK: I’m excited and focused on the fight. All the training is behind me and it is time to fight.
CS: Outside of the gym and MMA, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
KK: There are so many things that I would like to do, but sadly I haven´t much free time to do them. But just to mention a few: Climbing, swimming, cycling and running. I feel I’m always going somewhere but when I’m a home I just relax watching movies with my husband and playing with our dog.
CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
KK: My team, coaches, manager and all my training partners who have helped me with training. My family, my husband and my sponsors. I am very happy and pleased that I have people like you around me.
Invicta FC 8 takes place September 6th live from the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. The full card will air live via UFC Fight Pass. Click below for tickets, or to subscribe to UFC FightPass.