Undefeated champ Ivana Siric Petrovic reveals how sparring Norwegian politician backfired
Norwegian MMA fighter Ivana Siric Petrovic is just starting her professional career, but is already an historic undefeated champion.
In her fifth professional fight, she became the first woman to win the ARES FC flyweight title, and on April 7, she’s up for her hardest fight to date as she’s defending her strap against the tough Ewelina Wozniak.
In an exclusive interview with Frontick, the flyweight champion opens up on her first title defense against the game Polish challenger.
“It feels amazing and I’m more than ready for Evelina,” Siric Petrovic says enthusiastically. “I’m really happy to fight her because she’s ranked No. 1 in Europe, and that means something to me. To test my skills against the best in Europe, to really see if I deserve this belt.”
How do you see the fight play out?
“Ewelina is a kickboxer and dangerous striker. But I’m so much taller than her, she comes from strawweight, so it will be hard for her to box with me. That’s why I expect her to try to wrestle me.”
Ivana Siric Petrovic: “I insisted on fighting Ewelina Wozniak”
The fight was originally going to take place in January, but an injured hamstring forced the challenger to withdraw just a few weeks ahead of the bout.
“I was ready and focused, then the fight got canceled. ARES wanted to find someone else, but I insisted on fighting Ewelina Wozniak, because she’s good, and she said she would recover soon,” Ivana Siric Petrovic explains.
In other words, the training camp has been going on for quite a while.
“I feel overtrained,” the champion laughs. “I started before Christmas and I was on a diet during the holidays.”
Targets UFC debut by the end of 2023
When Ivana Siric Petrovic defeated Alexandra Tekenah with a monstrous submission to become the first female ARES champion, it looked like nothing in the world could stop her.
However, talking to Frontkick, the 28-year-old reveals that she was not in an ideal place in life for a title fight.
“A lot of stuff happened in my life at the time. I got married and my coach died,” Siric Petrovic says and continues:
“I trained in a few different gyms. It was hard, my ribs were injured, so I couldn’t get any kicks or punches on that side. I basically rested for like two weeks before the fight, maybe did a bit of boxing. To be honest I wasn’t ready for five rounds, but I was sure I would finish her quickly.”
With the upcoming title defense in April, the champion’s four fight deal with French promotion comes to an end. And even if she’s proud of winning the ARES title, the accomplishment was just one step on the way to reach her dreams.
“I have a lot of work to do after this fight. My goal is to come to the UFC to compete with the best. Hopefully by the end of the year, that’s what I think.”
“Politicians here doesn’t understand the sport”
Being a professional MMA fighter in Norway is not always easy. While fighting on an amateur level was legalized in 2019, fighting professionally is still illegal.
In fact, Norway and Iran are currently the only places in the world where pro MMA is illegal, even though a number of countries, including Cuba and Iceland, does not recognize it as an official sport.
“We do have a lot of amateur tournaments, which might help to get MMA legal. Fighters here are hoping for the best, but the politicians turn us down again and again.”
MMA is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide, why do you think it’s still illegal in Norway?
“Politicians here don’t understand the sport, they think that there are no rules in MMA,” Ivana Siric Petrovic sighs. “Professional boxing is legal now though. Cecilia Brækhus is very popular in Norway and that helped to make the sport legal. In my book, boxing is more dangerous than MMA, because there are more hits to the head.”
Norway has a bunch of good fighters, including top ranked Swedish-born UFC middleweight Jack Hermansson, who work hard to get the government to accept their sport.
Ivana Siric Petrovic even went into a very light sparring session with a Norwegian politician, with the intention to demonstrate the sport and get her to understand what it’s all about.
However, that plan backfired completely, as the politician wasn’t happy at all after a round with the champ.
“She didn’t want MMA to be legal after the sparring,” Petrovic says with a laugh.
ARES FC 14 goes down in Paris on April 7th, and the event is streaming live on UFC Fight Pass.
Read more: “Conny Future” reflects on becoming first Swedish female PFL fighter – and why timing was perfect
Read more: Malin Hermansson to make PFL debut against undefeated hype train!
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