Fight out of 21st Century Fight Team on the outskirts of St. Louis, BJJ specialist Madeline Gousetis is already nationally ranked at the age of nine. She won the 2012 national NAGA gi and no gi titles for her division and looks to repeat this year.
We talked to Gousetis about her life as a fighter.
Wombat Sports: What got you interested in getting involved in combat sports?
Madeline Gousetis: My older sister started doing Kenpo when she was 4.Years later my little brother started doing MMA & I was not doing any sports at the time so I thought I would try it.It didnt take me long to realize I really liked jiu jitsu & I wanted to be the best I could.
Wombat: What do you enjoy about fighting?
Gousetis: I really like hanging out with my teammates & traveling to different cities to do tournaments.I have also made a lot of new friends in different parts of the country.
W.S.: How has your friends and classmates reacted to it?
M.G.: At first some of my friends thought MMA was for boys & not girls.Fortunately there are a lot of girls in MMA, I have alot of female teammates and there are a lot of girls at the tournaments.
W.S.: How about your family?
M.G.: My family is very supportive.My brother & sister both also fight & my mom & dad were both into bodybuilding.Our living room is a dojo.
W.S.: Who do you look up to in fighting?
M.G.: In fighting, I look up to Ezra Lenon, Susie Wyatt, Becky Gullet, Jusin Lawrence, Lucas Lopes, Taylor Guerra & many others.
W.S.: How do you feel about the future of females in MMA?
M.G.: I think with so many females getting involved that opportunities will continue to grow.I hope one day soon jiu jitsu will become an Olympic sport & more females will get into the UFC.
W.S.: What comes naturally to you in fighting? What have you found difficult?
M.G.: Jiu jitsu has been easy for me right from the start,I learned very quickly.My kickboxing instructor,Benny Voyles is a hall of fame coach,but its a long ride from my house so I don’t get to train kickboxing as often as jiu jitsu.
W.S.: What are your aspirations in fighting?
M.G.: To represent my country in jiu jitsu or MMA and be a pro fighter.
W.S.: Anyone you’d like to thank/add?
M.G.: I would like to thank my coaches,Ezra Lenon, Benny Voyles, Tony Biondo & Lucas Lopes as well as Finney’s MMA in St.Louis, 21ST Century Martial Arts In Pacific, MO & all of my sponsors SubCulture Kimonos,Girl-Jitsu, Impact Mouthguards, FutureFighterzs & Cage Hero for believing in me.Last but not least,all of my AWESOME teammates at Finneys & 21ST Century !!!
You can follow Madeline Gousetis on Facebook.