Aisling Daly Feature Oct10 by gusryan100


									Fighter Profile
Name: Aisling Daly
Club: Straight Blast Gym, Drimnagh, Dublin
Current Promotion: Bellator Fighting Championships
Imagine a few years back, a young Irish woman declares she will become the best fighter in world in her
weight class……….and no, its not Katie Taylor. Had Aisling Daly done this it may have gone largely
unnoticed as MMA coverage in Ireland is still largely under the mainstream radar. But that hasn’t stopped her
dedicating her life to achieving her goal of becoming the world’s top female MMA fighter in the 57 kilogram
division. Daly now finds herself only a few fights away from achieving that lofty target.

Having begun karate at 10, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at 14 it became obvious her skills were developing faster than
her coaches so she teamed up with John Kavanagh at the Straight Blast Gym (SBG) in Drimnagh where she
still trains. After adding some muay Thai striking skills to her arsenal, Daly made her MMA debut in 2007 and
had a record of 4-0 by the end of that year. Now a fighter full time, training sessions are twice a day, six days
a week.

Her most memorable fight so far, because it was the hardest fought win, came in the debut year. Fighting on
the Cage Rage – Contenders card in Dublin, Aisling submitted gritty Belgian Majanka Lathouwers by armbar
deep in the 2 round. “I hit that girl harder than I’ve ever hit anyone and she wouldn’t go down” Daly
remembers. “It was a real war of attrition, the two of us were on top at different points in the fight. I think my
determination broke her mentally as she couldn’t find a way to win”.

Daly had made her mark in the MMA world with this win and 2 fights later Aisling was winning at Cage Rage
25 in the Wembly Arena in front of 8,300 people. On the same card that night were MMA legend Ken
Shamrock and UFC up-and-comer John Hathaway. Daly won all four of her fights in 2008 in the first round in
a combined time of 7 minutes 15 seconds. The demise of Cage Rage then left Daly struggling to find willing
opponents with only one fight materialising in 2009.

Daly is philosophical about the demise of Cage Rage. If that didn’t happen then she would never have been
signed by US promotion, Bellator Fighting Championships. Bellator are probably the 3 largest promotion in
the US and crucially for Daly, a supporter of female MMA. Better still, their fight cards are broadcast by the
ESPN Deportes and Fox Sports network to millions of homes across the US.

With the global growth of MMA, women’s MMA is also starting to gain some traction. UFC president Dana
White recently said female fighters in the UFC are still some time away but other US promotions have been
early adopters. Strikeforce has made stars of its top female fighters like Gina Carano, Cristiana Santos and
Marloes Coenen. Bellator are also making waves for womens MMA with its recent 52 kilogram tournament.
These promotions now use the same rules and round times for both genders, which Daly feels is an
important step.

Aisling believes that the momentum she has built in the sport can carry her all the way to achieving her goal
of being number 1 fighter in her weight class. Daly is currently ranked number 5 in the 57kg weight class and
suffered her first loss in August to take her record to 9-1. The sole loss came in her Bellator debut but in the
lighter 52 kilogram weight category. Her next fight in Bellator will potentially bring the career goal within
touching distance. Currently Tara LaRosa is ranked number 1 in Daly’s weight class and Bellator are trying
to put this fight together. The 2 ladies have some previous as they fought at FILA grappling tournament in
Turkey in 2007 with LaRosa winning on points. As this fight is still in the works Daly is looking to stay active
by fighting on the Cage Wars card in Cork on the 27 November.

Should the LaRosa fight take place Daly views it as the beginning of a new phase regardless of the result. A
victory sees her reach her goal becoming the dominant female fighter in her weight class. A loss gives her
valuable insight into what she needs to do to improve to fulfil the goal. With time on her side Aisling is
prepared for either outcome with the same dedication and focus that has gotten her to this point today.

Though MMA still has its objectors, her positive personality, dedication to training and focus on becoming
one of the worlds premier fighters has made Aisling Daly an great ambassador for the sport of MMA and not
just for the ladies.

Fergus Ryan, October 2010

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