Posted May 5, 2015 by Melanie Gale in Interview

Introducing Aussie Flyweight Christina Tatnell: “I enjoy nothing more than punching face!”

Photo courtesy of The Examiner

Photo courtesy of The Examiner

As part of our Aussie WMMA Week, we had a Q & A with Tasmanian-born flyweight Christina Tatnell (4-1), and asked her about her background, her fighting style, and how she plans to make the international MMA world sit up and take notice.

What do you want people to know about you, including how you got involved in MMA?
My name is Christina Tatnell, but my training partners call me Creepy. I’m 21-years-old and I finish fights. I hail from a small country town on the island of Tasmania, and I began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when I was 18-years-old. Throughout my childhood I was bullied in school, which brought on confidence and anxiety issues, but thanks to the sport of MMA, I’m now overcoming them. I have fought in three different weight classes: strawweight, flyweight, and featherweight.

What’s your style of fighting?
My style is a mixture of long, rangey punches complemented with knees and a tight Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game off my back. I like to push the pace, hunt the body and overwhelm my opponents with my boxing. Punches in bunches! If they come close? I use my clinch to knee the head and body. If they take me down? Well, I’m more than comfortable off my back and I like to take advantage of my long limbs and flexibility. I don’t lay on my opponents coasting to a decision. My sole goal is to finish and not leave it in the hands of three individual opinions. I like to think of myself as well rounded, but I enjoy nothing more than punching face!

What will you bring to the cage? What will you show us? What challenges will you face internationally?
You can expect a finish, that’s for sure. I’ll be looking to come forward, laying leather on my opponent’s face and constantly pouring on pressure. My style is not stifling or decision based. I look to finish and finish emphatically. The biggest challenge I anticipate facing is the standard of wrestling that North American fighters possess compared to Australian fighters.

How much of 2015 is planned out for you at this point?
I recently gave birth to my first son Elson last December, so at the moment I’m just focused on getting my base of fitness back. Last month I signed with US-based management company Posterboy Fighters, and they’re in the process of securing me a fight in the United States later this year. Hopefully I’ll have something to announce soon! My general goal is to continue to learn and improve. Learning new techniques and developing game plans for specific opponents is what interests me most and keeps me motivated.

The opportunities for female fighters in MMA seem to have really opened up, with Invicta leading the way and then the UFC adding two female divisions to their shows. It’s been exciting for us as fans and journalists to watch that growth. What has it been like for upcoming Australian WMMA fighters to see this?
It’s been fantastic! Less than five years ago WMMA was almost non-existent in Australia, save for a one-sided bout every five or six cards. To now see so many Australian fighters gaining opportunity on an international stage is both motivating and exciting. I think the key to breaking through the barrier that prevented these opportunities in the past has been social media and female fighters, especially in Australia, showing their personality to the world. The amount of females now training in MMA and BJJ in Australia compared to when I first started in 2012 is crazy and great to see.

Who are your biggest influences, either within the fight industry or outside of it, and what do you admire about them?
My trainer and former manager Dan Enson Hyatt inspires me most. Always moving forward, always looking for a chance and the next opportunity. Dan has been the deciding factor in making MMA my career and is responsible for my change of approach and fighting style. I’m not only a stronger person because of him, but I’ve also matured a lot having experienced more in my life over the past two years than I ever imagined I would. Before I met Dan I was a timid, little girl, and now I feel like a savage. He is what I needed!

What challenges do you have as a WMMA fighter that male fighters don’t have?
The biggest challenge I see is that male fighters are taken far more seriously than female fighters, especially when it comes to petite or attractive female fighters. While I’m understanding that MMA is sports entertainment at its core and that sex will always sell in this day and age, it can be very frustrating to hear and read some of the comments general MMA fans make relating to female fighters, completely ignoring our hard work, abilities, and talents. The amount of times people have told me I’m too pretty to fight, or laughed at the idea that I fight inside a cage like the men do, is disappointing.

Who is your P4P dream opponent?
While she may not be a fighter, I would love nothing more than the chance to punch Paris Hilton in the face. For some reason, the mere sight of her face makes me feel real punchy. As far as a real dream fight is concerned, it would be amazing to stand across the cage from Zolia Gurgel. I think stylistically that would be a great fight for the fans.

What do you do when you aren’t training?
I used to be an Instagram addict, but nowadays if I’m not training or preparing my meals I’m attending to the needs of my beautiful son Elson. He is very playful and is already good at keeping me on my toes.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully still competing in MMA and using my experience to pass on knowledge to the younger generation, especially my son. This sport has already done so much for me and in ten years’ time I will only be 31-years-old with hopefully plenty more left in the tank.

Why are you Da Creepy?
My fight name is actually ‘Creepy,’ and apparently it’s because I do creepy, awkward things at random times, especially when I think people aren’t watching me. I’m not a fan of the nickname, but my supporters seem to love it so it has definitely stuck!

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
Aside from that I think it would be a good idea for everyone to follow me @DaCreepyOne on Twitter, watch my fight highlights on YouTube, and pester Invicta Fighting Championships to hurry up and sign me.

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Melanie Gale