If we are talking about the future of the women’s divisions of MMA, look no further than the IMMAF.
Their youth divisions for athletes under 18 have provided a secure environment to grow and learn. It also gives them an opportunity to prove their skills against others and win championships.
In the coming weeks we are highlighting some of these athletes.
Alexis Hazelton is coming off a bronze medal at the 2021 IMMAF Youth Championship and is proving to be the future of the MMA Gold gym in El Dorado Hills, California. Under her coach Jim West, she is also a teammate of current UFC star Aspen Ladd. Hazelton isn’t one not to learn from one coach, as she also trains boxing at Mike Guy Boxing, Muay Thai with with Jake Douangdara, and strength and conditioning with Coach Doug Casebier at Our House Fitness. Not to mention is a part of the Folsom High School and Mad Dawg Wrestling Club.
Wombat Sports: What got you interested in competing in MMA?
Alexis Hazelton: Originally I started out wrestling in 8th grade and my coaches also coached at an MMA gym close to my school. They told me that some of the girls train there as a good way to stay in shape during the off season. I started training there a few weeks after that season ended and I’ve been in love with it ever since.
Wombat: What do you enjoy about it?
Hazelton: I love everything about MMA; hitting people, getting hit, wrestling, jiu jitsu, all of it. My favorite part about it is the way you feel when your adrenaline kicks in and everything goes quiet. For a moment, I move in slow motion, I can feel my heart beating and my lungs breathing. I don’t have to worry about what’s going on in my life, all I have to think about is how I’m going to attack the person in front of me. It offers me an escape and a feeling unlike anything else.
W.S.: How have your friends and classmates reacted to you competing?
A.H.: My classmates and friends are super supportive of me competing. They think it’s really awesome and my teachers are astonished by my accomplishments.
W.S.: How about your family?
A.H.: My Dad wrestled in High School and I go to him first before any coach for advice. My Mom was hesitant at first because she didn’t like the idea of me getting hit but she came around to enjoying watching me compete. No matter what I know I always have the support of my family.
W.S.: Who do you look up to in fighting?
A.H.: I look up to my head coach Jim West, along with my teammates Aspen Ladd, Anthony Hernandez and Max Griffin. They are all very knowledgeable in the sport and I jump at every opportunity I can to learn from them.
W.S.: How do you feel about the future of females in MMA?
A.H.: The future is absolutely female. We have a certain drive and ability to withstand and overcome tough obstacles with a fire to prove ourselves.
W.S.: What comes naturally to you in MMA?
A.H.: Wrestling came quick and flowed naturally for me. With that, jiu jitsu also came natural since a lot of the movements are similar.
W.S.: What have you found difficult?
A.H.: I’ve had a tough time developing head movement, although I’ve learned sometimes you get hit and you have to just keep moving forward.
W.S.: How has it been to compete in the IMMAF?
A.H.: I feel blessed just being able to compete but with IMMAF I was given the opportunity to complete with the best in the world I am very grateful and honored to be in the IMMAF community. All of the staff were super nice and helpful, they truly care about their athletes. The Youth World Tournament was an amazing experience for me.
W.S.: What are your aspirations in fighting?
A.H.: I will be a UFC champion sometime in my life.
W.S.: Anyone you’d like to thank/add?
A.H.: I’d like to thank all of my coaches who beat me up daily and push me to be better. I’d also like to thank my parents, friends, family and my boyfriend whom are always supportive and there for me.