It took the better part of a year for Kristy Wolterbeek to get her first amateur mixed martial arts bout under her belt. Cancellation after cancellation made it feel as if the opportunity would never came, but it finally did. She would earn a unanimous decision over Sandra Chheng in August. Now making her Maverick MMA debut against Natalie Schlesinger (0-1), Wolterbeek hopes to keep the momentum moving forward.
Her opponent is coming off a unanimous decision loss, and she too will be eager for a win. The Maverick MMA 3 fight will take place September 30 at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA. We caught up with Wolterbeek at the Maverick MMA 3 open workouts to talk about her future in MMA.
Can you talk about the nerves leading up to your first fight? You had a handful of fights fall off. What did it finally feel like to get into the cage for the first time?
“I think my nerves were pretty much under control, just because I had so much anticipation in previous fights that did drop out. I’ve been in so many gyms that I have a huge support group that’s kind of stuck with me through everything. They told me ‘this is what’s going to happen, this is how you are going to feel.’ And they were right, and I was prepared for it. I was a little nervous but again I was prepared for the nerves I had. As far as my next fight, I expect them still to be there. I have them every time I compete but I think I have them under control and feel good going into the cage.”
What did you learn about yourself as a fighter after having the opportunity to compete?
“I learned that I had it, you know? I had never had a fight before. I never knew what it was like in a real situation, in real competition, aside from sparring. So, I learned that I had it. I had a great outcome. I worked my hands a lot. And I learned that I need to work on my takedown defense and jiu-jitsu as well. My striking was superior. I need to work the ground game more for this fight. I’m at Pure MMA under the Main Brothers for my ground game.
Have you seen any progression in your ground game since working with Pure MMA?
“I’ve been working a lot with the Pure MMA staff. I’ve got three or four coaches over there and sparring partners. I’ve got purple belts, more advanced females than me on the mats. It’s a great support system there for me.”
What do you know about Natalie Schlesinger as an opponent?
“I do have one piece of film on her. I believe it was her first and only fight. It was about 10 months ago I believe. I’m basing stuff off this film but I do hope she has gotten better and I hope it to be a good fight.”
Your social media is flooded with workout videos. Would it be safe to say you are a cardio freak?
“Most of the cardio I do is on the mats. The stuff you see on my social media is my strength training with my coach. He’s got a very specific program for me, four days a week. It does adjust based off our fight cycles. So once my fight was accepted we started a six week cycle. Once one fight dropped out, we started over. That is my strength. I do live with him so it’s a perfect scenario for me and I can hold him accountable, we are both going to be there.”
You trained with Claudia Gadelha when she was in New Jersey. Do you two still talk and how do you see her fight this coming weekend going down?
“I actually talk to her a few times a month, especially when we have fights coming up, we do talk about it. She was a big help for me in my weight cutting since she has done it before and we are similar in size. She knows what it is like, as oppose to me getting advice from a 180-pound guy, you know? It’s very different. I still talk to her a lot. She does help me, she’s very supportive of me. I think she’s going to dominate in her fight, I’m really excited for her to get back in the cage and get another win.”
Speaking of weight cuts, how much weight do you typically need to cut for a fight?
“For this next fight I have about seven pounds left. I only cut about two or three, so around 10 pounds. I have heard guys give me advice on cutting weight, and it’s just not practical for me. Especially wrestlers. They lose as much in the two-days leading up to the fight that I lose in two-weeks leading up to the fight.”
You often hear about women retaining more water weight than men. Do you get frustrated when the weight doesn’t come off?
“No, the weight comes off as expected. The biggest problem for me is dehydration. It’s the first time I’ve ever dehydrated to cut. The day before it was new for me, it was the hardest part, the biggest struggle. But overall the weight came down as expected. My strength coach works a lot of my nutrition so we were pretty well prepared for it.”
You’ve been known to train your stand up technique with coach Don Cioffi. How’s that going for you?
“It’s going amazing. I’ve been with coach Don for a while, but I’ve been taking private lessons. I’ve just taken off. I’ve become a stand up fighter, whereas before I wasn’t. I’ve been working a lot with my left hand, my lead hand. It was a struggle for me, it was slow, and it’s become a lot faster and more powerful.”
Kristy Wolterbeek gives thanks
“Just all the support I’ve had. It’s been amazing. I’ve had no setbacks really. It’s just been a forward progress for me. All the gyms I’ve worked with, especially Pure MMA for bringing me in. Quinn and Craig were a huge help. Carnicella’s, I spar with them today. And Buxton’s Wrestling, I’m with them. And of course, Don Cioffi, my stand up coach.”