Story by Darnell “Doc” Mason @docmasonmma
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its return to the lone star state this Saturday with a Fight Night card that is stacked with intriguing bouts that hold title implications for many of the fighters on the main card. The fight that Hawaiian fight fans will be tuning in for pits local fighter and the pride of Ewa Beach; Kailin Curran (3-0-0) against the highly touted Paige VanZant (3-1-0) in both fighters UFC debut.
One can’t help but to be filled with pride as we look back and at the humble yet hard path that Kailin took to earn her place in the UFC. She is the first Hawaii female fighter to enter the octagon on Saturday.
From backyard gyms to the Waipahu Filcom. From the Neal Blaisdell Center, to the foreign arenas of Guam, Kailin has forged her path and honed the skills that have gotten her into the UFC.
MMAHawaii sat down with Kailin and her mom last night as she heads into the biggest bout of her career.
MMAHawaii: Mrs. Sebala when did you know that Kailin was destined to be a fighter?
Robbin Curran Sebala: After her first MMA fight - her amateur bout in Maui for Destiny - it was hard to accept when she was doing her kick boxing thing – but once I understood the big pic and seen how much love and dedication she had for it I learned to accept it and learned that it was her destination and no turning back for this mama I had to give 100 percent.
MMAHawaii: Where were you when you got the call, that your daughter had made it into the UFC?
Robbin Curran Sebala: We kind of new ahead of time - but had to wait for the final paper work to be handed to her - we were at home when she called us to let us know that it had finally happened - it was such a good feeling and to hear and then the anticipation for ufc to announce because still at that time we couldn't say anything ! So when they finally released it I got tagged in a picture – I was with my grandson at down to earth and I was so happy to finally spread the excitement and news.
MMAHawaii: Do you think Kailin’s signing will do anything to increase the interest for women’s MMA back in Hawaii?
Robbin Curran Sebala: I think already yes with her signing and all the local fights we have out here already I see a flux of girls coming out and fighting – I remember back in the day it was so hard for her to get a fight because there were no girls at all!
MMAHawaii: What are your feelings going into the Saturdays fight? Is it business as usual or is it different because she is fighting in the UFC?
Robbin Curran Sebala: As it lead up to this fight - I was a bit nervous and I just tried to keep myself busy and I tried not thinking that she had a fight coming up. I was distracting myself - but now that I am here with her - I feel more relaxed and feel confident that she has trained 100 percent and the outcome of this fight will be what is meant to be - it's very exciting that this is the biggest event that anyone can be In and it has been our goal once Dana signed woman into the UFC and so to get back to the question lol ! It's such an awesome and humbling experience to be a part of.
MMAHawaii: Have you been watching this season of The Ultimate Fighter?
Robbin Curran Sebala: Yes, we are so happy Kailin didn't try out - her manager was on it - he knew that she had the skills to make it into the UFC without getting into the house and after watching the show - that is the number one reason why I didn't want her trying out.
MMAHawaii: Kailin, what advice would you give to the female Hawaiian fighters who are in the gym training and hoping follow in your footsteps?
Kailin Curran: Just to never give up and work hard.
Kailin Curran faces Paige VanZant on the UFC FightPass portion of the UFC Fight Night Card in the second bout of the evening.