Name: Mónica Brenes Mena, Age: 23, Nationality: Costa Rica, Weight: 55-60kg, Gym: Keawpithak Muay Thai / Evolution Muay Thai, Fight record: Muay Thai 12-4-0 (7), Kickboxing 5-3-0 (3), Boxing 13-2-0 (7), Titles: 3 Times Amateur Boxing National Champion
1. How long have you been training and what made you want to become a fighter? I started training back in 2005, at age 13. Since I first started training it felt really natural, so I always trained to fight, after just a few months of training I had my first kickboxing fight, and absolutely loved the rush; it’s probably been one the only things I’ve been sure in my entire life, I know I am a fighter.
2. You have trained in a few different martial arts what are they? which one is your favourite and why? I started training kickboxing, and karate. I would train Muay Thai since that same year, but on and off because trainers were coming and going. And I have always had the dream to fight MMA, so I would pretty much train several disciplines knowing that eventually I would, trying to learn everything I could. But back home at the time there was not a lot of people to fight against, so that’s when I started having boxing fights. For a while I stuck to boxing and Brazilian Jiujitsu, getting some Gold Medals in boxing and a blue belt in BJJ. After a while I was able just to stick to Muay Thai, BJJ, and MMA. But Muay Thai has always been by favorite one, and the one I’ve put the most time and effort in. Why? It’s such a beautiful art…! There’s no reason why not.
3. What has been the hardest thing about being a fighter in Costa Rica? Been a fighter in Costa Rica has never been easy. Since I started a while back, it’s been hard to get women to fight in the country, and the pretty much the only way to fight is to get a fighter from abroad, or to fight abroad; but there’s no support from the government, sponsors, not even big promoters for Muay Thai. Meaning that if you want to fight you have to cover all of your training, nutritional, and travel expenses. So finding the balance between professional training, working to cover for all expenses, and still trying to get a degree -I’m studying to get my degree in Physical Therapy-; and giving a 200% in all of it and still trying to get some sleep, will test if fighting is something that you really want to do.
4. If you could fight on any promotion in the world what would it be and why? I would and must fight for a world title, and any title really, just let me fight for them! So WBC, WPMF, ONEFC, INVICTA,… You name it. And UFC is major dream of course.
5. What has been your proudest moment as a fighter? Even though I’m pretty hard on myself, I try to be proud of every moment; every fight, every hard week of training, if you’re putting all your effort in something you must be proud of it. But definitely been able to save up, leave everything behind and move to Thailand for the second time, makes me proud. Oh, and been able to win fights by out-clinching Thais makes me feel like wonder woman! (LOL)
6. How would you describe your self as a fighter? When it comes to training as I mentioned before, I am really hard on myself, I always feel like I need more training, more running, more sparring, more clinching, even when I’ve done all the work I am supposed to do. When it comes to a fight, mentally I am really calm, not an angry fighter at all, and I don’t really get nervous; and I try to be very respectful towards all of my opponents, I like saying hello to them at the stadium before the fight with an honest smile. I try to think about the fight, until I get into the ring, thinking about it in real time. When it comes to my fight style, I try to keep it thai style as I learn, but I’ve always been an aggressive fighter, and like to exchange; every fight is different so my style does change on every fight.
7. What do you enjoy the most about training in Thailand? That I get to fight so often! Even if it’s only once a month, it’s still so much more than what I would fight back home. And having amazing thai trainers, I’ve always had great trainers; not a day goes by without them teaching some awesome moves (even if I don’t remember them all!). And that I’m able to dedicate all my time just to train and fight.
8. What are your plans for the next year? If everything goes right, I’ll be spending my next year in Thailand. So I’m hoping to get really good fights, and title shots. And definitely getting fights outside of Phuket, and Thailand.
9. Name 3 things out of Muay Thai that people might not know about you My first full rules 5 rounds Muay Thai fight was in Thailand, at age 19. Might sound weird, but fighting gives me peace, stepping in the ring is when I feel the most peaceful -and happy-, not saying I don’t feel the adrenaline rush or frustration, but when I’m fighting I only have to think about the fight, about what’s happening at that exact moment, there’s nothing else you could be thinking about! One of the first trainers I had in Thailand adopted me as his daughter, since I trained with him pretty much for a whole year, so he would even fill in my information for the fights with his last name, so my thai last name is Khemnak.
10. Any advise for people wanting to start training or become a fighter? Don’t overthink it! Just start training, give it a shot, and same with fighting, don’t think too much about having that first fight, once you’re in there you’ll see it’s not that much of a big deal, that first struggle is just in your mind. And second, make sure you find proper trainers who take care of you, having committed trainers that know what they’re doing really change how you feel about this amazing martial art.
Anyone you would like to thank? My family… They’ve always been a major support! And the absolute best! Oh and you -Natasha Sky- you’ve been a major support on my both stays in Thailand. Please click and like my fight page! https://www.facebook.com/monicabrenesfighter Currently a sponsored fighter at Kaewphitak Muay Thai, Phuket, Thailand.
I currently do not have any other sponsors, but I am looking for some, so if you want to help me on pursuing my dream, please contact me through my Facebook fight page! I’ll proudly represent your brand.
Interview By Natasha Sky, Dec 2014, Photos supplied If you Enjoy my Fighter Interviews and blogs Please Follow my Journey (HERE)