Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton
Height: 5' 5"
Weight: 125 lbs
MMA Division: Flyweight
Record: MMA (1-0) Boxing (13-4-1)
Inside the cage, world champion boxer and ONE FC flyweight, Ana Julaton, is unstoppable. Some of her accolades include winning the Women's WBO Super Bantamweight and IBA Super Bantamweight titles. Her success in boxing has not only helped her transition into MMA, but it was also recognized by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. As for her first passion, mixed martial arts, Julaton's skills will be put to the test again as she faces Ann Osman in her second MMA fight at ONE FC 19. It will be held at Dubai World Trade Centre on August 29. Sharing the same card as three title bouts, Julaton is part of the most significant female fights in ONE FC history. Outside the ring, Julaton exudes a vivacious personality and can always be seen with a contagious smile. FightMatch.com attended her Media Day at House of Ryu in Las Vegas, NV, on August 6. At the event, Ana Julaton spoke to FightMatch.com and shared her thoughts regarding the future of women's boxing, comparing MMA to the entertainment industry, her goals, and yes, this friendly fighter was smiling throughout the interview.
Q: How did you get into fighting?
A: I got into it through martial arts. I was ten years old. It was me, my brother, and my dad. We all trained together and got into tournaments and I just built from there.
Q: Do you feel it's tougher as a boxer or MMA fighter?
A: I think it's tough overall. It's a risky industry. It's tough to find longevity and you have to be very business savvy, especially being a woman.
Q: What is your training schedule like?
A: It depends, sometimes I'll be in the gym for four to six hours at a time, but that doesn't include strength and conditioning. My last day off was two Sundays ago. I play it by ear depending on how my body feels. It's always a fine balance which is why I really rely on my team to see me on the outside; they see how much I've been working and kind of just tell me to relax. Sometimes, when you get in the zone, you just keep going.
Q: Which team do you currently train with in MMA?
A: I'm not tied into any school but I work around with different fighters with different pedigrees. Sometimes when you get caught up with a certain school, and I'm not saying all schools, but you get tied into a certain style. Sometimes, it gets hard to adapt to new things because you develop a certain structure, if that makes sense. I want to keep myself away from that kind of environment.
Q: Who are your coaches?
A: Angelo Reyes has been my head coach since I was an amateur boxer. Chris Ben has worked a lot with me in MMA and has trained Gina Carano.
Q: Do you prepare for both boxing and MMA fights the same way?
A: Yeah, I knew when I signed with ONE FC, my competitors would want to bite my head off. There's no luxury in this sport.
Q: Which fight is tougher to train for, boxing or MMA?
A: MMA is very demanding because you must be well-versed in all aspects in the cage. I always make sure my boxing is my focal point in my training because I know everyone knows that my background is in boxing. It would be a disadvantage for me if I ever lose that in my game.
Q: How do you feel being recognized for your accomplishments by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame?
A: I'm honored. It's nice to be recognized in boxing. A lot of people will say boxing doesn't support female fighters, especially here in the United States, but that's not necessarily the case. The statement I'd like to say is boxing is not at all sexist. They'll recognize those they feel should be recognized. It's also nice to have the support of Nevada Boxing. Honestly, this whole year has been going at such tremendous speed that there's a lot of highlights I still haven't digested yet. For the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, one of my favorite boxers is Roberto Duran and he's going to be inducted. To even be on the same page, I could cry. It's pretty cool. It's like meeting your childhood crush.
Q: How do your parents feel?
A: I didn't tell them yet. They support me in what I do but I'm sure it's tough for them to hear I want to devote my life to the fighting sports. I try not to get them involved that much because I'm not sure if they are ready to take it all in. I know they'd be really stoked. Traditionally, for Filipinos, they'd like to see me go through school, pursue nursing or become a doctor. My brother went to school and is an engineer. We're just opposites.
Q: What are your goals in both MMA and boxing?
A: Definitely to achieve a title with ONE FC. I want to maintain titles in boxing but I'm just taking it one fight at a time.
Q: Which direction would you like to see female boxing go, in the future?
A: I'd like to see it rival against the male boxers, especially seeing it happen in 2016. I feel like that's where a lot of the media exposure will take place for female boxers in the United States.
Q: What is the hardest part about being a fighter?
A: There's a lot of things. Besides the weight management, dieting, and training, the hardest part is constantly trying to have the opportunity. There's a lot of fighters who don't get on the same stage as other fighters. It's a competitive industry. It's like the entertainment industry.
Q: What is your diet like?
A: It's different now because I fight at 125 in MMA and 122 in boxing. In boxing, I go leaner and for MMA, I feel you need a little more weight for the ground game, so I've been trying to eat a little more. Once I get into camp full throttle, I lose a lot of weight so it's hard for me to maintain and build a little more. I think it's harder for me, not to lose weight, but to gain weight and gain the mass.
Q: What do you like most about this sport?
A: I love the idea of it being unlimited. Whatever you dream in your head, like this magical Bruce Lee image, you can actually apply it to a controlled setting if you train hard enough. For me, it's pretty cool. It's like a real-life video game.
Q: Is there a specific song that pumps you up before a fight?
A: It depends on my mood but I like r&b and rap. I don't know if it's techno, but I also like David Guetta and Calvin Harris' type of music.
Q: What is the most memorable moment in your career?
A: There's a lot. When I won my first world title, I was going through a downward spiral. I suffered a knee surgery, failed a black belt test, and lost a fight before that. I just continued pursuing martial arts. Then I had an opportunity to fight this veteran and legend in this sport, in her home arena, in San Jose. They were looking for an opponent and when I won that fight, it changed my life.
Q: Do you have advice for young females who want to get into the sport?
A: If you're going to pursue the fight sports, just get more aware of what you're getting into. I'm not talking just about physically but the business aspect too. It's not like you're not playing dodgeball, it's a fight. For me, I'd rather talk to the person to see where they're at. I just want them to know they need to see what they're getting into and once they get into the sport, they need to be a business owner. You're your own brand.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: (laughs) I like watching Netflix. I've been watching Orange is the New Black. It's entertaining and very radical with all women, sexuality, and vulgar language.
Q: Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
A: I want to thank my team: Angelo, Chris, all my stablemates supporting me, my boxing promoter Allan Tremblay. Allan is fighting cancer and is about to beat it. He's a phenomenal guy and has allowed me to pursue MMA as well. He is an inspiration and I've never seen that guy upset or sad.
Q: Where can fans follow you?
A: Social Media, just plug in my name, Ana Julaton.