Kandi Wyatt

Photo via Kandi Wyatt Boxing Facebook page

Kandi Wyatt talks title eliminator bout on UFC Fight Pass

Kandi Wyatt takes on Alma Ibarra in a consequential title eliminator bout at Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, California.

This eight-round welterweight bout goes down on Friday, August 20th, and broadcasts on UFC Fight Pass. I spoke with Wyatt recently and excerpts from our chat can be found below.

Kandi Wyatt

If any COVID-19 related roadblocks impeded her progress

“I wouldn’t say there was any roadblocks. We kept a pretty close eye on all the restrictions that were being put into place. It was honestly more frustration at one point with opening everything up again just to shut it back down, a month or so later. Then open it up again and shut it back down. But yeah once any restrictions were put in place, we were able to accommodate and continue to train. So in the end we were happy that we were able to continue to train.”

If frustrations materialized at any point amid the myriad of training pivots in a global pandemic

“I’ve always kind of thought things will eventually work out and we’ll get everything sorted. Right at the beginning when it was like the hard lockdown, it was almost like it was like a forced rest. You just take the silver lining and be like okay, my body is rested and fully recovered and I’m not sore anymore.”

“It gave me a chance to address some nagging muscle soreness. To get that rest and recuperation was actually a silver lining to the COVID-19 shutdowns. And then, as the course of 2020 carried on, I never had a doubt in my mind that things would get fired up again. We would continue living life.”

UFC Fight Pass

The performance in her sophomore world title bid

“Yeah, that was a super competitive fight with Kali Reis. I was obviously not super pumped about a loss but it just gave me a chance to improve. You don’t improve on your skills unless you fight. So it reassured feelings I already had about being on the world championship stage. After that fight, I know I lost, but I did come away from that fight knowing that I belong. I belong in this pool of world championship fighters.”

Fighting in Dekada with three minute round increments but since reverting back to two minutes

“Fighing the three-minute rounds, I loved it. I thought it was great. It gives you a little bit of a chance to slow your mind down and be a little bit more strategic of what you want to do with your punches. Compared to the two-minute round, I do feel personally that the two-minute round it’s a little bit of a sprint. So that’s like the major difference there. But to transition, my one fight that I was preparing for a three-minute round, we prepared for that in training camp.”

“So I sort of knew what to expect going into the fight. Then when I had my bout against Kali Reis, we knew well at the time that it was going to be 10 two-minute rounds. So during training camp, that’s what we were training for. So to make that adjustment from threes to twos wasn’t an issue.”

Possible amendments so women boxers can compete in three minute round increments

“Personally, I can’t speak of this as fact. But personal opinion, I just think it was a decision made however many decades ago when women’s boxing was allowed to be a thing. And it just hasn’t changed. I think for it to change it’s on us, the female fighters. We need to advocate for ourselves and say, tell our promoters. Tell our managers, tell our coaches that we want three-minute rounds.”

“So that those conversations can get taken to other promoters and other managers that are also managing female fighters. Be like alright well this is what my girl wants. We just really just need to advocate for ourselves.”

Michael Short and DiBella Entertainment as allies of women’s boxing

“That came to light with the Kali Reis fight. So yeah, we’ve got two more. We have the Kali Reis fight and then we have two more fights with DiBella Entertainment. Which I’m super excited for. DiBella does seem very dedicated to women’s boxing and really developing that sport. So I’m super excited to be working with this organization and you mentioned Michael Short earlier.”

“Michael Short’s been in my corner for the last five years. Since I moved down to Calgary and started my boxing career down here. So yeah, it is really great to have this solid base of support behind me as a female boxer. And a solid base of male support as well. I think that speaks volumes as well.”

A third world title crack coming with a victory here

“So yeah, the desired outcome after August 20th; I think the next step would be to challenge Jessica McCaskill at the 147 division. As far as a rematch with Kali Reis, I’m totally up for it. Kali Reis is a badass and I know she would be up for it as well.”

Kandi Wyatt’s opponent, Alma Ibarra, and her notable stylistic attributes

“Ibarra is going to be a tough opponent, every opponent always is right. I’ve watched a little bit of tape on her. My coaches have watched a little bit more and then designed our game plan around there. But we’re going into this fight not underestimating Ibarra. I know she’s in my way. So I need to get her out of the way first. So she has my 100% focus. Our game plan is just go in there, don’t underestimate her, and fight hard.”

Kandi Wyatt’s thoughts about being on UFC Fight Pass

“I was actually really intrigued about the UFC Fight Pass. This actually isn’t the first show that UFC Fight Pass has had; not the first boxing show. I can’t remember the exact dates but they did have an all-female show. It wasn’t that long ago, like maybe three months ago. So it is a platform where UFC Fight Pass is obviously interested in having boxing on there. How can I be upset about a name like UFC being interested in willing to put women’s boxing on their platform? Just give us a chance to continue to grow.”

Women’s Boxing champs crossing over to mixed martial arts and if Wyatt would ever do MMA

“Never once in my life have I ever considered changing. I did get that question a lot. When women’s MMA and UFC was starting to take off. Ronda Rousey did a great job of trailblazing that, same with Holly Holm. There was a lot of women’s MMA fighters that (had) their names in the headlines and they were being talked about. And I was getting that question a lot. But no, I fell in love with boxing when I was 10 years old. Never once thought about trying anything else.”

Inspiring a myriad of local pugilists at her club

“I mean I guess I hope so. A lot of times I don’t really think about the kind of impact I’m having. Until, like, a little girl comes into the gym and is asking me all these questions about when did I start boxing? And like how many fights have I had? So yeah, I don’t really think about the impact that I’m having until it’s right in front of my face.”

Seeing a bit of her younger self in some of the kids that train at her club

“Yeah, totally for sure. I remember being a little kid. When I was a little kid there, like women’s boxing has already grown. Especially women’s professional boxing has grown exponentially since when I was a little kid. When I was a little kid, I looked up to Jelena Mrdjenovich. And I mean I still do look up to Jelena Mrdjenovich. But she was kind of one of the only ones.”

“And now even since then, there’s dozens of female names for young girls to look up to. So just noticing that exponential growth in 10 to 15 years, that’s really nice to see. Really encouraging.”

Parting thoughts for Kandi Wyatt

“Just a big thank you to all my coaches and my promoter Michael Short. Lou DiBella Entertainment for having me on the show. My manager Brian for dealing with everything behind the scenes. I don’t have to focus on anything but training. And just a big thank you to all them. Big thank you to you Dylan for having me on the show once again. It’s always nice having a chat with you. Just thank yous all around to everybody that supports me.”

author avatar
Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.