Interview With Kaitlin YoungFrom first becoming an overnight sensation with three devastating knockouts in one night to later competing on primetime CBS television, Kaitlin Young has made an impact at every step. She talks with about a return to competition.

With a smile that belies her vicious knockout power, Young first rose to prominence as the 2007 HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix Champion.


She later faced Gina Carano in an all-out war on the historic first EliteXC card on CBS. Though the demise of EliteXC left her without a promotion to compete for, Young used the opportunity to finish her schooling and is now focused solely on establishing herself as a threat in the 135-pound division once again.

With all four of her wins coming by knockout, Young’s highlight reel is among the best in the sport. She is never in a boring fight and looks to return to her winning ways inside a Strikeforce cage soon.

Please note that this is a repost of our original interview here. Hi, Kaitlin, and thank you for taking the time for this interview. To start off, can you talk a bit about what first sparked your interest in martial arts?

Kaitlin Young: Well, I originally started training martial arts because I was forced to pick an activity. I’m not totally sure why I chose Tae Kwon Do. I think I felt like other sports were boring…and I had always loved the Ninja Turtles. You began your training in Tae Kwon Do at a young age and hold a Black Belt in the discipline, but you are perhaps better known in MMA for your skill in Thai boxing. Which of the two do you feel is more of an asset when you are competing in a mixed martial arts fight?

Kaitlin: Thai Boxing. Hands down! Personally, the only things that have transferred from Tae Kwon Do to MMA are certain head kicks and footwork. For the most part, my Tae Kwon Do training had created more bad habits than good ones. If a person has a desire to do striking for MMA, they should stay away from Tae Kwon Do competition. As part of the respected Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, you have the opportunity to train with a number of talented fighters and champions including (among many others) Sean Sherk, Brock Larson, Brock Lesnar, Nick Thompson and fellow female standout Cody Welchin. How beneficial is it to get to train with such an excellent stable of fighters?

Kaitlin: It has been very beneficial. It has given me the opportunity to learn by example in a lot of ways, rather than by trial and error. It is nice training in a gym where no one ever truly becomes “top dog,” as someone in the gym will always be better at some aspect of the game.

There are a lot of big name guys at our gym, and a lot more coming up, but there are also a lot of people that nobody hears about that train with the fighters – and they are very, very good in one aspect of the sport or another. It keeps our team constantly growing and improving. There is nowhere else I would rather be. As wrestling is a focal point at the academy and some of the sport’s top wrestlers train there, do you now feel confident that you can take any fight to the ground if you need to or do you still prefer to keep the fight standing if possible?

Kaitlin: I’ve had a lot of help from those guys. My takedowns have become much more successful, and my takedown defense has improved a lot as well. I enjoy striking, but feel very comfortable on the ground. I will take/keep a fight wherever I think I can win. Most fans first became familiar with you when you won the 2007 HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix with three vicious knockouts (in a combined total of just 1:45) in one night. What was that whole experience like for you as you literally became an overnight sensation?

Kaitlin: The evening itself was awesome. Afterward, it was both a blessing and a curse. I loved getting higher-profile fight opportunities, but at the same time, I didn’t have the ability to grow by fighting every month on smaller shows. My striking was good, but my ground game had a long way to go. It was a great experience, and I am happy with the opportunities that have come from it, but I feel that it maybe stunted my “MMA education.” Perhaps the most notable win that night was your semi-final victory over current Strikeforce star Miesha Tate, as you knocked her out with one of the most devastating head kicks in women’s MMA history. When that instantly became a staple of highlight reels online, did you find that that made even more people stop and ask, “Hey, who is this girl who’s knocking everyone out?”

Kaitlin: A little bit. I think it has made me a more interesting fighter to promoters who are looking to put on an exciting show. After you won the HOOKnSHOOT Grand Prix, you faced off with talented submission fighter Sara Schneider at a Tuff-N-Uff show in February of 2008. Though you seemed to be in control of the fight during round one, Sara caught you in an armbar in the second round. Was the loss a major disappointment or did you opt to look at it as a learning experience?

Kaitlin: I thought I had that fight in the bag, and then I was caught. I was very disappointed. I don’t deal with losses well. I did use it as a learning experience, though, and it helped to motivate me to work on my ground game even more.