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'Rowdy' Bec Hyatt transformed from 'elephant' to Invicta FC title contender

Esther Lin

A mere three years ago, "Rowdy" Bec Hyatt was, to use her own words, "an elephant."

"I think I was grossly overweight," Hyatt said on Monday's edition of "The MMA Hour. "Alot of people ask me for before-and-after photos but I literally hid from the camera. I called myself an elephant. I was pretty big, I lost 30 kilos [roughly 66 pounds] all out. I'm quite little, but it's a lot when you actually see me and realize how small I am."

Three years later, the affable, 5-foot-6 native of Tasmania is not only in shape, but she's a strawweight contender in the Invicta Fighting Championship with a cult following.

"I've only been training for three years," Hyatt said. "I had my first fight in 2011, I haven't been training long at all. I like to say I have the most supportive fan base ever."

Hyatt, who first made her mark in Invicta in January with a strong performance as a late substitute against Carla Esparza in the company's first 115-pound title fight, returns to action Friday night, when she faces Jasminka Cive.

With just five pro fights under her belt, Hyatt accepted the January bout against Esparza on just two weeks' notice when Esparza's original foe, Claudia Gadelha, suffered a broken nose in training. Hyatt lost a unanimous decision, but earned praise for her efforts, including from Esparza, simply for showing her toughness given the circumstances, fighting halfway around the world on short notice.

"I'm absolutely stoked with how that all happened," Hyatt said. "It definitely pushed me into the limelight, I proved a lot of people wrong, they all thought I would was going to get finished in the first round, so I actually proved that I'm not all hype, that I actually had some skills behind this crazy attitude. So it's definitely a good thing to me. I went five rounds with No. 3 in the world so I can't complain."

Hyatt (4-2) returns to Kansas City just three months later looking to rebound against Cive, an unbeaten striker from Austria who has finishes in all five of her career fights.

"She's a striker, she's quite strong, she's quite beastly looking, so she's going to be powerful and explosive," said Hyatt. "I haven't seen much of her ground game, most of her fights have been finished standing up, so her standup is going to be a strong point, she's quite a brawler, she's not very technical. I think I've got the upper hand on the ground. It should be a good fight."

Either way, Hyatt is just happy to be in America with her gear intact, as she experienced a nightmarish trip from Australia.

"It was hectic, I think it was 29 hours, it was pretty horrible," Hyatt said. "They ended up losing our luggage. So we had to go back to airport at 1 am this morning to find it and it still wasn't there, so they kept it a few hours late and we headed back this morning. I'm stoked about that because I found all my fight gear and my mouthguard and everything in there and I was freaking out a little bit. But I'm glad I'm hear and I'm settled in. I've got to get some training in, get some food and get ready. ... I was sitting in car doing happy dance [when she finally got her bags] and people were looking at me. Here's this weird Australian dancing around."

The 24-year old mother of two isn't ready to predict her career path. She was coy when asked on Monday whether she'd want to appear on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, even though she'd have to move up two weight classes to do so.

But Hyatt did make one thing clear: Speaking on one of the hot topics in WMMA in recent weeks, Hyatt said she wouldn't take a fight with transgendered fighter Fallon Fox, weight class differences aside.

"She's a man," Hyatt said. "She chopped her junk off and decided to put some boobs on and try to fight girls I think it's ridiculous. ... I wouldn't want to fight her, I wouldn't want to fight a man, I train with men and they've got a huge advantage. I think our strength is equivalent to like a 16 or 17 year old boy, but she's a full-grown man with man muscle, man bone density, it's just too crazy of a difference, and yeah, I wouldn't want to fight her."

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