Kay Hansen entered UFC on ESPN 12 as the promotion’s youngest fighter. At just 20, she had a couple of years of experience under her belt, mainly in Invicta FC. By the end of the night, she’d announced her arrival in the strawweight division, with a submission of another debuting Invicta FC star: former atomweight champion Jinh Yu Frey.
Welcome to the UFC, Kay Hansen. It’s a call many expected for the talented youngster at some point. But it all seemed to come together very fast. Speaking to Cageside Press in a media scrum post-fight at the UFC Apex, Hansen explained how it came about.
“I got the call Sunday afternoon. And I was literally taking my little sisters to Starbucks,” she recalled. “I was in the drive thru line, and I get the DM from Mick Maynard. And I’m like, ‘Whoa,’ and then like 10 minutes later he calls me, and he not only offered me the bout but he offered me the contract with the UFC and I was like, ‘I can’t turn this down.’ This is all I’ve ever wanted. This is the call that fighters wait for, you know? I was I was caught off guard, but at the same time I was fully excited and ready to take up you take him up on the opportunity.”
The opportunity was clearly the biggest of her career, and Hansen made the most of it. With idol Ronda Rousey‘s signature finish, an arm-bar, no less. Hansen also made one particular MMA fan very happy with the win: prior to the fight, a $37,000 wager was placed at the BetMGM Sportsbook at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Hansen found out shortly before she made her first walk to the octagon.
“I saw I saw that, probably like 45 minutes before my fight. That’s so crazy to me,” she said. “I mean, I don’t know who did it. But that’s a lot of money to bet on someone making their UFC debut. But congrats to them, I guess.”
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 27, 2020
The big wager didn’t have any effect on her heading into the fight, however. “Not really no. I mean, I saw and I was like, ‘What?’ But I mean, it didn’t put any pressure on me because that’s your choice,” Hansen observed. “I’m not responsible for fulfilling that. But I mean, it is cool to see people putting that kind of faith in me in a way, I guess. But really crazy for sure.”
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 12 post-fight press scrum with Kay Hansen above!