Kerry Hughes on Danish MMA Night fight with Pannie Kianzad: "I know she's good, but so am I!"
Last time she set foot in the cage, Kerry Hughes was the victim of one of the worst stoppages seen in the sport in recent times - but rather than be bitter about it, the heavy-handed bantamweight says she's learned from the experience.
Hughes, who trains at BKK Fighters Gym in Colchester, travelled to Belgium to lock horns with home favourite and UFC veteran Cindy Dandois at Cage Warriors 89 last November.
Tussling with ground specialist Dandois, Hughes was taken down and was working to improve her position when the fight was bizarrely halted – despite the fact she was in no imminent danger of being submitted or hurt by strikes.
That farce dropped her pro record to 3-3, and Hughes once more enters hostile territory this Saturday determined to move on.
She faces Invicta FC alumni Pannie Kianzad (9-3) at Danish MMA Night in Copenhagen – but this time her mindset is different.
“I’ve learned a lot from the last fight,” said Hughes, 33. “It should never have been stopped, but the main thing I’ve taken away from it is that I shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.
“I was too worried about what she was doing, instead of punching her in the face. So this time I’m going in there knowing that she’s good in all areas, but so am I!
“The last fight I forgot that. This time, I don’t care where it goes, I’m happy wherever.”
Of Kianzad, who has mixed with big names including Sarah Kauffman, Tonya Evinger and Jessica-Rose Clark, Hughes added: “She’s a purple belt in BJJ with a decent bit of wrestling, but predominantly she’s a boxer.
“She’s going to be wanting to put on the very best show she can, but I’m just looking forward to getting back in there – I feel so different this time around.
“It’s almost sort of freeing, the fact that my record is down to 3-3, it means that I can relax and enjoy the fight – it feels like a weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
As is now customary, Hughes spent her training camp at the famed Jackson Wink Gym in Albuquerque, and emerged nourished by the experience, which saw her training alongside UFC stars under the tutelage of renowned coach Greg Jackson.
“It was amazing,” she enthused. “Every time I go to the States I rediscover my love for the sport. It makes the UFC seem more attainable too.
“You realise that most of the fighters at that top level aren’t superhuman – you do get phenoms like Arnold Allen and Jon Jones of course, who are next level, but a lot of people who are in the UFC are just pretty good at what they do and work hard.”
As for her more immediate goals, Hughes added: “My only goal at the moment is to try and get two fights in this year and just keep improving.”