Monica Franco had the type of professional debut that people dream about. Fighting in home in Honolulu, Hawaii, Franco landed a brutal spinning back-fist and KOed her opponent cold in the second round. The place erupted and the hype was real behind the taekwondo black belt.
However, while her first night as a pro had a storybook ending, what would come next would be anything but a fairy tale. Having had some difficulties leading up to the fight made it difficult for her to get back in there quickly.
“I think it was a combination of a lot of different things at that point. [Leading up to] my fight, I had gone through my fourth really bad weight cut in a row,” Franco explained of her absence from fighting. “I was literally in the hospital until like 2am getting IVs because I was trying to re-hydrate.”
Not only did the weight cut catch up with her, but she dealt with burnout as well. Some due to the pressures of the cage, some due to general difficulties of life. However, she feels it all helped her get to where she is now.
“I was throwing up and stuff like that. So the night before my pro debut, I was dealing with all of that,” she said. “I think I was a little burnt out from dealing with that and some other personal issues that I think I had to go through as a human being in general to get where I am today.”
While that time away was undoubtedly difficult, it did help her body recover. She returned in early 2020 at Invicta FC 39, where she scored a unanimous decision victory. The time off, along with a move up to bantamweight made an enormous difference.
“During that time, I was taking a break. I think my body just kind of had the time to recalibrate itself, so to speak,” Franco said. “For my most recent fight against Tina [Pettigrew], I felt very healthy. Just being able to have that health going into a fight makes such a world of difference on your cardio.”
While she dealt with another sizable layoff, mostly thanks to the pandemic, Franco feels like she’s back into the swing of things for this fight. In fact, with her body back cooperating, she’s even looking at getting back to her old weight class.
“For this one, it was actually quite easy,” she said “I’m looking at trying to get into the flyweight division afterwards.”
Franco looks to move to 3-0 when she faces Hailey Cowen at Invicta FC 45. That fight will air on YouTube this Wednesday with the fight card starting at 8pm EST.