What was it that got you into fighting?
Ryan Spillane: It was by accident. I was playing rugby at a very competitive level and during the off-season I decided to do some fitness training and heard about a kickboxing gym. After the first session I was completely hooked, gave up rugby and followed MMA full time.
Krzysztof Gapski: A competitive drive and a willingness to test myself.
Michal Pezda: I just like the competition. You know, checking myself and crossing a barrier.
Barbara Grabowska: I don’t know what it was exactly, but since I just was a kid I wanted to be a fighter. So now, I’m making my dreams come true.
What’s harder – the physical or mental battle?
RS: Always the mental battle. Every day you’re fighting a new smaller battle and then the actual fight is obviously the biggest one. I always say that fighting is 80 per cent mental 20 per cent physical.
KG: Mental, because there is stress associated with weight cut. You can’t eat what you want. The training regime is very hard and makes your mind say “no” but you have to force yourself to do it anyway.
MP: I think that physical part is harder. To me, the mental side is easy, I have the power to do what I want to do. But, of course, if you train hard the physical side becomes easy too.
BG: The hardest is always the mental battle. Sometimes, when I’m exhausted, it is really tough to stay positive and motivated, but I know that in order to succeed in the sport, I must keep this kind of mindset.
How did you feel when you scored your first victory?
RS: It felt amazing. It was my third ever fight, and I took it on two weeks’ notice in the opponent’s home town. It ended up with me catching him with a head kick after ten seconds. The feeling was incredible. I still remember being high from excitement the following day.
KG: It was a great feeling and proof that hard work pays off.
MP: It is hard to describe, but it is like you’ve been born again. You feel pain in every part of your body, often can’t breathe, but you feel you are alive.
BG: I’ve scored a TKO win and I remember being surprised that fight finished so quickly. Obviously, I was very happy.