Times have been tough for Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
The former strawweight title challenger has dropped her last three contests, forcing her reevaluate the way she does things.
“I’ve changed everything for this fight,” Kowalkiewicz said, pausing briefly to reiterate how serious that statement is. “I changed my whole life.”
Kowalkiewicz switched up her training camp, she made the transition from vegetarian to vegan and she invested more time into her own health. These efforts aren’t a method of returning to the fighter that was 10-0 once upon a time; Kowalkiewicz views this as a time to prove to herself that she still has that fire burning inside.
“I want to prove to myself that I can still be a fighter,” Kowalkiewicz said. “This is the most important thing for me.”
Kowalkiewicz will attempt to get back to her winning ways at UFC Auckland this weekend against Yan Xiaonan, who is 4-0 in the UFC. It will be a great test to see if Kowalkiewicz’s lifestyle changes will put her right back into the mix at 115 pounds.
“The last three years were very hard for me because I lost my last three fights,” Kowalkiewicz said. “I go back and wonder to myself why I lost those fights. Was it because of my health going into those fights or was it because of my health after the fights? Regardless, I just want to be the best I can be.”
One of the weapons that Kowalkiewicz intends to utilize in her matchup with Yan is the infamous “Polish power” that UFC light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz has displayed time and time again. When asked if “Polish power” was truly a thing, Kowalkiewicz produced a sly smile and responded with a soft, “Polish power is the best.”
Saturday’s fight will be Kowalkiewicz’ first opportunity to fight in New Zealand and she is excited to produce a fight that fans will remember.
“I just want to be memorable. I want to bring a fight that makes people cheer and want to watch me fight again,” Kowalkiewicz said. “I’m truly excited to be here. I was exploring earlier this week and got lost in the beauty of the landscape and beaches. Traveling is the best part of this job and to return the favor I’ll put on a great show.”
The event will mark Kowalkiewicz’s 11th UFC fight and while she’s been able to secure longevity in the Octagon, she knows in her heart that she is far from done.
“I just need to be me and use all my hard work to get back to where I want to be,” Kowalkiewicz said. “And I’ll get there on Saturday.”
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