Kay Hansen is excited to showcase a new version of herself at UFC 270. The 22-year-old has always been extremely active throughout her five-year professional career, which began when she was 18 years old. Case in point, in 2018, she fought five times. But whe recently had to take a step back from the Octagon after opening up about an eating disorder that sidelined her for 14 months.
“I’m not going to lie, this past year there were a lot of negatives,” Hansen told UFC.com. “I couldn’t fight, just physically. I was kind of forced to undo the damage I’ve done to my body for years. It was not fun at all, but once I started to put the work in, the not-so-fun work in, lately it’s been amazing. I’m listening to my body. I finally feel like I’m a grown-up athlete.”
Being able to have the time away from the Octagon allowed Hansen to reflect. She realized that her stubbornness has impacted her in good and bad ways. It showed her that she can adapt and do whatever it takes for not only for her career, but her health, too.
“I was stubborn to the point where I wasn’t looking at what I was doing wrong, even though my body is hurting and everything is hurting; whatever I’m doing is working, so it doesn’t matter, but then when I couldn’t fight physically for a year, I was like ‘oh s***, maybe I should take a step back’”, Hansen said. “It’s definitely good that I’m relentless because I’m going to chase something if I want it, but sometimes I need to make sure I’m doing it the right way.”
Her fight this weekend feels like a debut in a sense since she has been away from the Octagon for over a year. Not only will this be the first time she fights in front of an arena crowd with the UFC, but she’ll also be fighting in her hometown. She is looking forward to having friends, family and teammates in the crowd supporting her return.
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While Hansen compares her fight this weekend to a debut, her opponent, Jasmine Jasudavicius, will be making her actual UFC debut after compiling a 6-1 record. But, to Hansen, records aren’t all that they are cracked out to be.
“Not only do I have the experience, but the caliber of opponents I’ve fought are so much better,” Hansen said. “She’s 6-1, but that doesn’t matter to me because I don’t know any of the people she has fought. When you go and look at my track record, my record isn’t perfect, but I’ve always taken tough fights ever since my debut, so I think that definitely speaks a lot more than a 6-1 record.”
This matchup will be Hansen’s first UFC fight at flyweight after fighting her first two fights at strawweight, although she has had experience at 125 pounds in the past. No matter the weight class, Hansen is ready.
“Whether I’m at 115 or 125, I don’t really care,” Hansen said. “I just want to fight and come in and prove myself and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Hansen switched camps just before her last fight against Cory McKenna in November 2020, where she ultimately lost by unanimous decision. This time around things are different. Hansen has had a lot of more time with her camp and is eager to show off this new version of herself.
“My last fight was my fight camp with the camp I’m with now and I only had a couple months with them before that, so now I’ve been with them for a year and a half, two years, so it’s like I’m a new athlete,” Hansen said. “I have confidence everywhere.”
There’s something special about a fighter’s first walk back into the Octagon after spending time away. When Hansen makes that walk on Saturday night in Anaheim, there’s only going to be one thought going through her head.
“Just whooping someone’s ass. There’s nothing else going through my head at that point. At the end of the day, a walk out is a walk out and a fight is a fight. There’s only one thing on my mind when I’m walking to the cage.”
Don't miss a single strike of the first pay-per-view of 2022 at UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane, live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on ESPN+. Prelims begin at 7pm ET/4pm PT. Main card begins at 10pm ET/7pm PT.
UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane took place on Saturday, January 22, 2022, live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.