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Chelsea Hackett set to fight her way to UFC


Multi-talented fighter Chelsea Hackett is aiming to take her chance as just the third Australian to feature on The Contender series in Las Vegas tomorrow and win her shot at crossing over to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

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The mixed martial arts fighter from the Gold Coast of Queensland, who has just celebrated her 21st birthday, says she’s set on becoming UFC champion.

“I know I am going to go into this fight in the best shape that I have ever been,” Hackett said from her Las Vegas base ahead of her 17 November Contender fight against American Victoria Leonardo.

“Contender isn’t my dream, being a UFC champion is my dream, and Contender is a stepping stone towards that.”

The Hackett women’s flyweight clash against Leonardo is a feature of  Series 4 of Dana White’s Contender Series, which scouts the world’s best mixed martial arts talent and pits them in battles for a shot at joining the UFC.

Under White, who has been president of the UFC since 2001, the global popularity of the multi-billion-dollar competition has exploded, with fighters from the big show turning into international household names.

Hackett, in Las Vegas with her father Geoff, who is also her trainer from the Gold Coast’s Wise Force Fight Centre, has endured pandemic quarantine, including last-minute changes to hotels in Las Vegas, in the lead up to the fight.  This comes after the bout was delayed from October due to COVID shut downs and restrictions.

But she said she was prepared for the potential chance of a lifetime and was just making sure everything was on point to secure victory and advance from Contender to the UFC.

It’s the logical next step Hackett in a career she has been preparing for since she was 12, when she began moving from single disciplines to mixed martial arts.

Hackett began taekwondo when she was just eight, achieving a junior black belt before moving into Chinese boxing. She then took up Muay Thai, becoming three-time Australian lightweight Muay Thai champion and winning gold at the 2014 and 2015 IFMA Muay Thai World Championships.

She has since doubled her training load, adding wrestling and jujitsu to her mixed martial arts repertoire.

Hackett has dominated the Australian women’s flyweight mixed martial arts fight scene since her debut in May 2019, claiming three straight Eternal MMA victories in nine months before challenging for her potential inclusion in the UFC.

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