UFC strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz is set to throw down with an idol this weekend at UFC Philadelphia.
Wilmington, DE — It’s hard to find a more likeable, soft-spoken fighter than Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The Polish strawweight is incredibly gracious in person, and that certainly extends to her current UFC on ESPN 2 match-up. Commonly UFC Philadelphia, the UFC’s return to the city that served as the backdrop to Rocky sees Kowalkiewicz paired up with Michelle Waterson.
Kowalkiewicz (12-3) is returning from the first knockout loss of her career, against Jessica Andrade at UFC 228 last September. She addressed her feelings about that loss, and towards her opponent, ‘The Karate Hottie,’ to Cageside Press and other media members Thursday at the UFC Philadelphia media day.
“I think it’s a great match-up,” she said of her upcoming fight. “But I really like Michelle, and I don’t want to hurt her, and I have to. So it’s a very tough fight for me.”
“I know Michelle is a great fighter, a great person,” she continued. “She’s one of my idols, and this is a big honor for me, to fight with her.” That’s high praise, calling Waterson an idol. But as Kowalkiewicz would later explain, “she’s a very nice person, very beautiful. She’s a mother, and she’s still fighting. All her career, she’s on the top. It’s something amazing.”
Kowalkiewicz even tried to order some girl scout cookies from her opponent’s daughter, but unfortunately, still in Poland at the time, she wasn’t able to.
It’s her job, mind you, to now punch her idol in the face. The Polish fighter acknowledged that, adding that “I respect all women’s fighters. This is part of my job, that I have to punch somebody.” On how she flips that switch, Kowalkiewicz said simply, “when I am in the octagon, something changes.”
Of course, she may not be there too much longer. The strawweight is considering motherhood herself. No juggling motherhood and fighting for Kowalkiewicz, however. “Now I’m 34,” she said. Once she makes to decision to embrace motherhood, fighting will be in the rear view mirror.
On her knockout loss, she said simply that “I cannot change my past, so I’m focused on my future, on my next fight. I don’t think about my fight with Jessica.” There was one takeaway, however: “Keep my hands up.”
Strawweights, meanwhile, will be headlining their first PPV card in the UFC, with Rose Namajunas taking on Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 in Brazil. “This is very nice. That people want to watch women’s fighting,” she said of the development.
She’ll no doubt have her eye on that fight. And while considering her eventual retirement from the sport, she added that “I’m more motivated than ever.”