At just 18-years old, Rana Muratoglu stepped into the cage for her first MMA fight but it wasn’t her first ever fight. Coming into XFO’s Rocktown Showdown 34, Muratoglu had a 3-0 amateur boxing record and when she faced Nikki Mungunshagai her striking was on full display.
In an interview with MyMMANews, Muratoglu opened up about her experience in her first MMA fight which ended in a decision victory over Mungunshagai.
I heard about Rocktown Showdown and my coach put my name in for a possible kickboxing fight and then one night he texted me and said he had a MMA fight for me instead. So then I was like you know, I train in MMA and I had grappling knowledge so I was just like, it’s a fight, I’ll take it.
Murtaoglu didn’t get an easy opponent for her first MMA fight and it was a challenge not only that she accepted without hesitation, but she did so knowing she was going to need proper preparation as well.
I think the mindset I had going into it was, knowing that this girl was a black belt in judo I had to be careful because ground fighting was not something I was comfortable with. When I go back and watch the fight, it’s very obvious that this is a striker vs grappler. But at the same time, I’m a striker, I go in there and set my game. I take the center and I make it my fight. That’s the mentality I had throughout training camp and it showed in the fight.
Some fighters may find nerves to be overwhelming in their first fight at such a young stage in their career, but Murtaoglu said that more than anything in this fight, she was most happy with her ability to stay calm throughout the fight.
Things I was happy with was definitely my calmness. I was very calm in that fight and it’s the same in my boxing fights. Every time she took me down I just remained calm and told myself I was going to get back up and I did. That all came because I didn’t allow myself to get frustrated.
Now that she has a MMA fight to her resume and three boxing fights to add to that, the opportunities for her fighting career are endless at this point. When asked if she sees her career going more towards boxing or MMA, Murtaoglu expressed patience in taking time to figure out what’s best for her at such a young age.
I really don’t know. Fighting is something that I will always do and watching, something I’ll always be involved with. For me, I’m really just focused on the right now, I’m really not looking ahead. I’m 18 and I have college coming up and I’m really just trying to use this year to figure out my fighting life and my fighting career. My fight was one of the best nights, I’ve never felt that feeling before. Fighting is my life and I really want to keep that moving forward, but I really don’t know where I see myself in my fighting career in the future.
Faced with many decisions in both her young fighting career and her personal life in regards to college and the next step, Rana Murtaoglu embraces the challenges. When she returned to her high school after her fight, she spent some of her time in classes watching her fights with fellow classmates, but her strong family background keeps her focus in the books and a potential career outside of fighting.
I want to continue school, I don’t want to jump into anything too quickly. I kind of want to take it slow, I have fighting after school, after college, and I have a lot of time to think about it. I really don’t see the rush.
She’s been involved with combat sports because it just felt right to her. When she was young and trying out other sports Murtaoglu said she didn’t feel right competing in them because it felt more like a chore and not as much fun as once she found combat sports. With a passion and background in performing arts, the spotlight has never been too bright for Murtaoglu but before she finds herself back in the spotlight, she wants to make sure she has the best possible path created for herself.