Fighting Words: Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Preferring to let her performance in the cage do the talking, Poland’s Karolina Kowalkiewicz makes her Invicta FC debut November 1st at Invcita FC 9 against Japanese phenom Mizuki Inoue.
Corey Smith: You initially took up Krav Maga at age sixteen, before transition over to mixed martial arts for the excitement. You have stated you did not believe you would fight professionally initially. At what point did that change? What were the first few years of training like for you?
Karolina Kowalkiewicz: When I started to train MMA for fun and for myself I wasn’t thinking about fighting. There were not many female fighters and fight offers anyway.
KK: One of my coaches persuaded me to take an amateur Muay Thai fight and I liked it. I was fighting stand up fights few times and I tried amateur MMA twice before receiving first pro offer. I decided to try it and here I am.
CS: You live and fight in Poland. How would you describe the MMA community in both Poland and Europe in general?
KK: I never fought outside Poland so far, so I can’t tell much about MMA in Europe. On Poland it is still a young sport, but it is developing very fast. The competition level is getting higher and higher and local promotions are growing bigger.
KK: We have a lot of great athletes in Poland, so if you never heard about any, don’t worry, you will hear about them soon.
CS: This will be your first bout outside of Europe. Are you concerned with any additional difficulties fighting overseas?
KK: I have no worries but I am very curious how it is to fight overseas. There is time zone change, jet lag and I still have to make weight. I like a new experience and to be challenged so I am looking forward to it and I am very happy for my US debut.
CS: Your opponent on November 1st, Mizuki Inoue is the current JEWELS Lightweight champion. What do you believe is the key to your matchup with Inoue?
KK: We have a gameplan prepared. I will enter the cage and try to do my job as good as I can to get a win as a result. I believe in my win but I know that Mizuki is confident as well. It is MMA fight so in fact anything can happen.
CS: Where do you believe a win against Inoue would place you in the Invicta FC Strawweight division?
KK: I will answer that question after my hand will be raised on November 1st.
CS: What is your mood on fight night? Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to perform?
KK: I am very emotional on a fight day but in a positive way. I am very excited and can’t wait to step into the cage. I often get moved and even cry, but I am very calm and focused when the fight is close. I don’t have any routines. I try to sleep well, relax, eat well and listen to some music.
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
KK: I always have my coach Marcin Rogowski in my corner and the rest of the team is various. I do not expect anything specific as I know they are all prepared and know what to do. I have great luck that I’ve always had fantastic people with me and they give me a 110% boost.
CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
KK: I am often attending MMA events in Poland to support my teammates. I love that atmosphere and that feeling when my friends are fighting. Definitely I prefer to watch MMA live rather than on TV or online. I am only watching Invicta FC and the most stacked UFC cards online.
CS: Outside of the gym and MMA, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
KK: Before I started to do MMA as a pro I liked extreme sports. Parachuting, scuba diving, etc. I even finished school for movie stunts. Now if I have few days free I am going south of Poland.
KK: Hill walking helps me relax, forget about problems and charge my power battery. If I can’t go to the mountains I am taking a friend to local MMA events. On a daily basis I like to watch a movie, listen to some music or read a book. I like criminal books most. And I love travelling.
CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
KK: First of all I would like to thank my coach Marcin Rogowski. Without him I would not have reached so far. I consider him the world’s best coach and I cannot even imagine preparing for a fight without him.
KK: I would also like to thank my second coach Adrian Dziarnowski, who believed in me from the very beginning.
KK: All my sparring partners: Marcin Lasota, Damian Szmigielski, Dominik Szmigielski and Dawid Gralka.
KK: My physiatrist Lukasz Stachlewszki and physiologist Michał Garnys. I would also like to thanks my superb manager Pawel Kowalik,
KK: And all my friends and relatives that are giving me huge support and helping me survive hard times.
KK: Of course I need to thank also my main sponsors: Pit Bull West Coast, DSF Group and MML Medical Clinic.
Invicta FC 9 takes place November 1st live from the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa.
Tickets are on sale via the Ticketmaster link below.
The full card will air live via UFC Fight Pass. Click below to subscribe to UFC FightPass.