MMA Warrior Spirit: Caitlyn Williams’ Women’s Empowerment in Combat Sports

Step into the resilient world of Caitlyn Williams, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt and professional MMA fighter hailing from Enumclaw, Washington. In this empowering edition of Pump It Up Magazine, celebrating Women’s March and the triumph of dreams, we bring you an inspiring conversation with Caitlyn. From battling personal struggles to redefining success, her story resonates with courage and resilience. Join us as we explore the powerful intersection of martial arts and mental well-being, unraveling Caitlyn’s journey of strength and determination
Q1: Empowering through Martial Arts

Pump It Up Magazine: Caitlyn, your journey from professional MMA to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is inspiring. Can you share how martial arts became a powerful tool in overcoming personal challenges, especially considering your experience with an eating disorder?

Caitlyn Williams:

Growing up in a martial arts gym and training in Jiu-Jitsu has helped me in so many aspects of my life. It teaches patience, resilience, determination and many other beautiful things that I feel make me a better person. Jiu-Jitsu, more than anything, has saved my life, which may sound cliché, but it is true, I found a father figure in my coach and his family became mine. I found confidence when I was fighting because it was never about what I looked like, it was just me and my abilities – and I was good!

Q2: Navigating Setbacks

Pump It Up Magazine: Your decision to step back from MMA due to your past struggles is commendable. How has this shift impacted your mental and emotional well-being, and what advice do you have for young athletes facing similar challenges?

Caitlyn Williams: 

It has been very difficult because it’s what I saw for myself and my future for a long time to come. However, a past that I believed I had escaped began coming back for me with each weight cut: When I was about 20 years old I nearly ended up in an inpatient facility for anorexia, but I worked extremely hard on my mental state and pulled myself out of it; so 5 years later when I began fighting in MMA, I didn’t think about how the weight cuts might affect me. I started becoming obsessive with my weight and I could tell it was about to take over my life again, so rather than allowing myself to relapse, I made the tough decision to step away from MMA and go back to my Jiu-Jiutsu roots. I think if anyone else is struggling with something similar, just know you can heal even though it’s difficult, but you must put yourself first because you’ve got to have your own back and you have to make the tough choices that are for your best self. I promise there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Q3: Empathy and Awareness

Pump It Up Magazine: Opening up about your experience with an eating disorder sheds light on a crucial issue, especially in the context of the pandemic’s impact on mental health. How do you hope your story will resonate with young girls and contribute to raising awareness about the importance of mental health in sports?

Caitlyn Williams:

Honestly, just thinking about other young girls feeling like they are a slave to a scale, mirror, or anything of that sort brings tears to my eyes because that pain is real and it is indeed a disorder, it is not vanity – regardless of what others may think. Just know, other people don’t understand it because they’ve never gone through it. I want all people who may be struggling to know that it is okay to ask for help, which is a brave thing to do. 

Q4: Strength in Adversity

Pump It Up Magazine: Despite setbacks, your resilience shines through. Can you share a moment in your MMA journey that you consider particularly empowering, regardless of the outcome, and how it has shaped your perspective on success?

Caitlyn Williams:

Yes, for my last amateur fight I fought at a higher weight class against a very tough girl and at the end of the first round I got rocked, my vision was gone for a second, I could barely hear anything and my coach sat me on the stool and told me I could still win. I tried to pull myself together and I got off the stool and answered the bell. I had enough strength to pull guard against the cage but not enough to follow it up; I lost that fight and was upset with myself but I never quit. After that fight I got back in the gym, trained hard, booked my first pro fight and won in the first round. Amazing things can happen when you don’t give up. Failure is not real, you’re just being rerouted.

Q5: Paving the Way for Future Fighters

Pump It Up Magazine: Your journey serves as a beacon of strength for aspiring athletes, especially young women. How do you see your role in pumping up the next generation, and what message would you like to convey to those dreaming of pursuing martial arts or any competitive sport?

Caitlyn Williams:

Yes, for my last amateur fight I fought at a higher weight class against a very tough girl and at the end of the first round I got rocked, my vision was gone for a second, I could barely hear anything and my coach sat me on the stool and told me I could still win. I tried to pull myself together and I got off the stool and answered the bell. I had enough strength to pull guard against the cage but not enough to follow it up; I lost that fight and was upset with myself but I never quit. After that fight I got back in the gym, trained hard, booked my first pro fight and won in the first round. Amazing things can happen when you don’t give up. Failure is not real, you’re just being rerouted.

Connect with Caitlyn: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/creepycaitlyn/

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