It’s a story as old as the sport (or at least weight classes) itself – a fighter who has a bad run of results and seeks refuge in a new division. The recent trend is towards upward movement, but there’s still the odd fighter who attempts to shed another 10-15lbs to make it down a weight class.
Gina Mazany recently became one of those fighters to come down in weight. After fighting her first 5 UFC fights at 135lbs, with a 155lbs fight on the regional circuit in between, she made her way down to flyweight for the first time. All she did was go out and put a one-sided beatdown on Rachael Ostovich and finish her with kicks to the body. While the transition went well, Mazany admitted that she was close to never having attempted it.
“It was quite a transformation, not only physically, but mentally. It’s honestly probably one of the best things that happened to me,” Mazany said. “After my last loss at 135lbs, I was done fighting. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.”
At just 1-4 in her UFC career and on the wrong side of 30, Mazany felt like there was no changing the trajectory and that it was possibly time to drop the gloves for good.
“I was stuck at a crossroads. At the time I was 31 and I was just down to support my man – have him fight,” she shared. “I felt like I kind of hit a wall with my training and my learning. I kind of felt like a lost cause a little bit.”
And that’s when everything began to change for Mazany. Her fiance, fellow UFC fighter Tim Elliott got a phone call from one of the hottest coaches in the game now, and he wanted some time to Mazany.
“James Krause hit up my fiance and was like, please just give me two months with Gina. Give me two month with her,” she said, noting the changes not just in technique for her, but also the preparation. “So I ended up going and training at Glory MMA with James. We had a discussion about it and talked about going to 125lbs. And then I hired a nutritionist, Tyler Minton, who is just awesome. Slowly, but surely, a 15-week fight camp and a 10-week strict diet and I made it down to 125lbs… and, man, I feel like a monster at 125lbs.”
While the change of scenery surely helped, it was the connection she had with Krause that brought her back to the sport in a big way. Not only does he teach things in a way that works for her, but the way he shows that he cares about his fighters is special to Mazany – so much so that she considers him one of her very best friends. And that passion that Krause brings to his coaching is largely why we can expect more Mazany for the time being.
“I’m going to blame it on James Krause. He really brought the light and the love and the passion back out,” she said. “It’s weird because I thought it was all over and right now I feel like 125lbs is a whole new beginning. I feel like I’m going to be a problem.”
She’ll continue to try to be a problem this weekend when she faces Priscila Cachoeira at UFC 262. That bout will be on the ESPN+ prelims.
You can listen to the entire audio of this interview at 2:21.