After making her bare knuckle boxing debut earlier this year, former UFC fighter Bec Rawlings is ready to take the stage and continue being part of a grow phenomenon inside combat sports.
Rawlings will be fighting on the second Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKFC) card on August 25, two months after making her BKFC debut on the inaugural BKFC show. Rawlings spoke to Fightful and said the impact BKFC has made on her career is a positive one and she had a lot of fun fighting on the first legal bare knuckle boxing card sanctioned and regulated in the United States in more than a century.
As far as the potential that BKFC has, Rawlings said after being a part of the first card in June, she believes the sky is the limit for the company thanks to the dedication of the people involved and how well they were able to execute the first event, which set social media ablaze.
“I knew that if [the first event] was done right, everyone would love it. But it could have gone so wrong if you had the wrong matches and wasn’t done professionally. I knew if it was done right, this would take off and it was done so well and the show was done beautifully. It had the right people involved and the right matchmaking and right kind of fighters. There was no doubt in my mind that people would fall in love with this sport. I’m glad to see it just take off,” Rawlings said.
Dubbed "The Queen of Bare Knuckle" after her debut fight earlier this year against Alma Garcia, Rawlings admitted that she didn't get a lot of attention from fight fans in her native country of Australia when she was in the UFC. That all changed when she made her BKFC debut and the sport sparked a lot of attention from Australians to both the sport and Rawlings.
It wasn't that Australia was unaware of UFC or of its global reach. After all, Australia is represented in the UFC by the likes of Robert Whittaker, Alexander Volkanovski, Tai Tuivasa, Jessica-Rose Clark and more. But Rawlings said something about bare knuckle boxing and fighting in the first BKFC debut created a new fandom in combat sports.
“I’ve had whole bunch of people, especially Australians who I hang out with previously. They had contacted me and they wanted to be a part of the show. Aussies love to fight and there is a boxing pedigree here in Australia. We have a lot of great boxers showing interest. It’s funny because I’m at the local boxing shows here and my partner is a professional boxer and they have never shown any interest in my fighting before when I was in the UFC. They didn’t show any interest in what I did, but the moment I signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, I had so many people excited and asking me how was it and how to be involved. This was funny how one show can ignite a totally new fanbase,” Rawlings said.
Now that she has had a taste of bare knuckle fighting and had a full training camp that didn't involve any form of grappling or wrestling, Rawlings admitted that this sport, compared to MMA, was easier on her body as the only thing to really worry about is boxing. Rawlings said one of the toughest and most physically-draining aspects of preparing for an MMA fight is the wrestling and grappling and eliminating that factor from the equation made a difference in her body.
Despite this, Rawlings said she still loves MMA and wants to return to MMA, hopefully after her second career fight in BKFC on August 25.
“There is definitely a difference with how MMA has a hold on your body. Wrestling and kicking all the time does weigh your body down. My camp was a lot different, certainly felt fresher, just focusing on boxing. They’re such different sports, but I love the grappling and jiu-jitsu aspects of MMA as well. I still love to fight MMA, but it’s cool to just focus on hands and really honing in on those skills. I like switching things up and this was different and I like to test myself. It was cool and exciting to me,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings will face pro boxer Britain Hart at BKFC 2: A New Era on August 25 on pay-per-view from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum In Biloxi, Mississippi.