Introducing: Strawweight Polly Beauchamp
WomensMMA usually writes about elite professional women fighters at the pinnacle of their careers, but we know even UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10-0) was once an amateur trying to make it in Muay Thai. We occasionally highlight a promising upcoming fighter, like Aussie Featherweight Megan Anderson, who has since signed a multi-fight deal with Invicta, but we decided we don’t do it often enough, so we’re starting a regular feature introducing young amateur and pro fighters to our readers.
First to kick off this series is English strawweight Polly Beauchamp (2-0).
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. What do you want people to know about you, including how you got involved in MMA?
I am 28 and have been training MMA for about a year now, but I had been kickboxing for a few years before that, including competing a few times. I also did karate when I was a kid and got my black belt when I was 10. Unfortunately I didn’t continue with martial arts throughout my teenage years – I wish I had though!
What’s your style of fighting?
I would say I am more of a stand-up fighter, but I am constantly learning and developing, so my wrestling and grappling is coming into play more now too.
It’s hard enough for most pro fighters to balance work and training, and to fund their training, but amateurs have it even tougher. Can you talk about this a bit?
It is hard! If I didn’t love it so much it would be hard to push myself. My gym, Trojan Free Fighters, is actually 65 miles away from where I live, so the journey several times a week can be long and expensive, but it’s what I want to do. I also work full time for a publishing company, so my days are really tiring sometimes.
I am lucky that Trojan has a nutrition sponsor, SciMX, so I do get some help with supplements, which is great.
My coach Paul Sutherland also helps me out with 1-2-1 training, as well as a local boxing coach at Contender Gym who spares some time to help sharpen my boxing, both of which I am really grateful for. Saying that, the majority of training and clothing I fund myself (although shout-out to BadBoy Europe for supplying my walk T and fight shorts for this next fight!).
Luckily, I’m not into going out drinking and spending money on clothes or shoes (because I’m always in gym kit) and my training is always prioritized and budgeted for.
Tell me about any upcoming fights and opponents you have, and how you got the fight.
I made my MMA debut in February 2015, and then had another fight June 6th. My next one is very soon, on July 5th on BudoFC 10 in Birmingham. Paul sorts all my fights for me, and my opponent is a girl called Naomi Harvey (2-1-1) who I know of and I was actually scheduled to fight her for my debut.
What will you bring to the cage? What will you show us? What challenges will you face?
I know this opponent will be tough, as I know she trains hard and no fight is easy! However, I feel like I had a really good camp and have covered all areas, so we will see what happens in the cage!
Should you win, what next? Any plans to go pro and/or find management?
At the moment I am taking one step at a time. I am actually going to take a few months off after this fight because I want to be able to enjoy my training and try new things so I can improve my game without having the stress of knowing I have to fight. Plus, I have pretty much been in camp all year so far, so my coach and I think it is right for me to take it easy for a little bit and look to fight again at the later part of the year. I would like to go pro, but I want to develop my skills and get more experience under my belt before we go down that route. Potentially next year depending on how the next few fights go.
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 British WMMA fighters?
It’s clear that MMA in general is on the rise, and the ladies seem to be making an impressive impact too, and not only in the US! It’s great and I think WMMA will continue to grow so it is really exciting to be on the scene at the moment and I hope it will lead to some fantastic opportunities!
Who are your biggest influences, either within the fight industry or outside of it, and what do you admire about them?
To be honest, I don’t really have any one specific person, there a lot of people I respect both in and out the fight scene, and all for different reasons.
What challenges do you have as a WMMA fighter that male fighters don’t have?
This is a tricky one as being a fighter is tough for anyone, whether male or female – the fight life is full of ups and downs. I suppose it is harder for females to find regular fights (especially at the moment, and in the UK) which is partly why I will have had three bouts within five months, because we haven’t felt like we can (or wanted to) turn down the opportunities, whereas if these fights came along and were guaranteed all the time, I may not have had three in quick succession. Not that I regret it at all, and I am really excited for July 5th!
Who is your pound-for-pound dream opponent?
Ooo tough one! I guess I would love to fight someone I admire, purely to get the opportunity to share the cage with them and for recognition – I would love the chance to put on a really good fight with someone who is respected.
What do you do when you aren’t training?
Work, general household chores — I cook a lot. Dog walks and family time – that along with training pretty much sums up my life!
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
Amateur MMA: 2-0-0, K1: 1-0-0, Kickboxing: 3-0-0
Please contact Melanie Gale if you know of any exciting new fighter you’d like us to consider featuring.
You can follow Melanie Gale on Twitter.