From time to time I get asked questions, best this, best that, you know the type I am referring to. Such questions are always hard to answer, but one that is not hard is when I am asked for most underrated, Katie Casimir is always at the top of that list. Katie is now just over a week out from returning to the cage when she faces Pearl Gonzalez at Hoosier Fight Club 28. I talked to Katie to get her thoughts on the fight and more.
Q: For reasons, you have not been as active as you like of late, has it been frustrating being out of the cage like you have?
A: Very! Especially before I was married, when I was single and had nothing to focus on but my training, it was pretty frustrating. I didn’t have the connections, when people would offer fights, my second pro fight I was offered Michelle Ould, who has a ton of experience, or Colleen Schneider who fights two weight classes above me, those were the fights I was offered. I am a tough chick but I am not ridiculous. I wasn’t getting offered reasonable fights. It wasn’t as common then. I turned pro five years ago and there was no UFC carrot for the fighters. That was pretty frustrating at that time. Then little by little I started making the connections and it got a little bit easier to get a fight. Then I started getting older and the injuries started coming. I have been out of training for over a year, my last fight was a year and a half ago. That has been horrible on me to, this is where my heart is, this is what I want to be doing. I try and find the positive all the time so I did work on a lot of psychological things over the last year. I don’t want to sound corny, but I found myself as a fighter. There was a some good that came out of it but definitely frustrating.
Q: Going back to when there wasn’t the UFC or Invicta for women, when you get offered those fights, a lot of girls would take them just to get fights, was it hard to turn those down knowing it may be your best offer for a while?
A: It really was. We are fighters and we want to fight and then you start to question yourself. “Why am I not taking this fight?”, but at the same time, if you are doing this to develop and grow, those fights are not like losing a race, there is a lot of damage in there and of course your ego to. It was hard not to take the fights but I just believed there was something there at the right time. I was wrong for believing that for a long time but it did come around and I did get some fights.
Q: Part of this might be me using our friendship, but I do believe it, seeing girls you are perfectly capable of competing with getting opportunities with Invicta, knowing if you had a few more fights, you would belong there as well, make it any more frustrating?
A: I think it does. I’m not gonna lie, I see some things like that and I think that could be me, it should be me, I am that good. I don’t think I am delusional when I say that, I have broken down a lot of things. Yeah I lost to a couple girls that have lost in Invicta but the circumstances surrounding those fights, I wasn’t one hundred percent, I wasn’t my best. I’ve told you this before, I take nothing away from either of those girls, they came out and performed better than I did, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t know that I am capable of doing these things. I see that and get a little resentful sometimes but I don’t like to dwell on the negative, it doesn’t benefit anyone to pout and say it is not fair. I have to go get those wins, This has always been for me, fighting has always bee for me because I love it. When I did my first fight, I knew I wanted to fight, but said I was only going to do it till it wasn’t fun, I was curious, I didn’t know if I would want to fight. I was hooked afterwords but I never set goals or ambitions. The UFC wasn’t even an option at that point, so to set your goal to be a champion, it is like “champion of what?” I don’t even think King of the Cage had a women’s champion at that time, so where do you set your sights? So it was always an internal things for me, how I can grow, how I can build, how I can be better. I would be lying to say I didn’t have resentment or negative emotions in that direction but I just focus on where I am and what I can do. I actually have quite a few offers coming in this year so lets do it.
Q: Coming into this fight, you and your husband Bendy were both in fight camp, does that make it easier being there with someone who knows what you are going through?
A: Yeah, it’s incredible! It was a little awkward this time cause our camps where close, his fight was three weeks before mine. So the strict diet, the pulling of the sodium, was happening for him at a different time frame but we were talking about how when you are in camp, your whole understanding, putting everything together, it just jells. It was cool to go through that with him. We work a lot of the same techniques. We are different fighters but we work a lot of the same techniques. To see things coming together for him and him bringing them together for me, it has compounded that effect which is really really great. He gets to train full-time so it is really nice to have him at my disposal so when I get home from work at ten at night I can say “lets get the gloves on” and he will push me harder than anybody else. He is never far from fight shape so getting him there is not the same as getting me there but having him as my partner to get me to run sprints and train is good.
Q: So what do you know about Pearl?
A: Very little actually. I know she is 5-1 and beat Cortney Casey, a tough opponent. I don’t know much about her other opponents. Cortney was out here doing a little bit of her camp for that fight. I had some interest in that fight but that is the only fight I have even seen. I remember being pretty impressed with her striking in that fight and also her submission defense, it was phenomenal. That is what I know about her. I have told you before, I don’t like to know a lot about my opponents. I did re-watch the fight just to get a vibe for it but I am more worried about what I wanna do than what she is gonna do.
Q: I have known you don’t like to know a lot, some are the opposite and like to know a lot. One thing about you having been inactive is there is not much video or anything on you, does that make you a hard opponent to game plan for?
A: Yeah I would say that is the case. I like it that way. I feel like even from one fight to the next, you evolve so much and being out a year, even if you could find every one of my fights and study them to the letter, what you are probably gonna know is I’ve got a pretty nasty cross, I can take a punch, but what I’ve become over the past year is a completely different animal so I always assume that about my opponents as well. I can’t just assume, I can know what you do well but I can’t know what you are gonna bring. It is the same with her. She has been out for a while as well so to speculate on what she has been working on, I feel like it is an exercise in futility because people can be working on something all the time and during the fight it can go out the window anyway. I think people will underestimate me in general because of my record and I am o.k. with that. You don’t have a lot to look at with me and I like that.
Q: You mentioned her being out for some time also, so really even if you did know much about her, who knows what she has worked on in that time off correct?
A: Exactly! Sometimes someone will throw themselves into something, maybe even go to Thailand and where as before a teep wasn’t something you had to look for, now you do.
Q: You are going to Chicago so she will have support there. Some people like that, some don’t, I get the feeling it isn’t something you care about.
A: I don’t. I lived in Chicago for a bit. I don’t know if I will have some support there or not to be honest but it doesn’t matter to me. In some ways I don’t like being the “away team” so much as I kind of, I guess fighting is personal for me and I don’t like for everyone to be there watching me. It isn’t a pressure thing, I am confident, it is a matter of it’s just mine and when I am away, it is something I share with my coaches and that’s it.
Q: You mentioned the Casey fight, after that fight she accused Pearl of using spray tan and being slippery, is that something you’ve thought about or worry about or do you not even put any stock in that?
A: I did remember that and I was thinking about getting a spray tan before the fight. It would be the perfect time to try it out right? She couldn’t complain if it did make me slippery. I didn’t put a lot of stock in that honestly. Once a long time ago I did get a spray tan, I don’t know if technology has changed in that but I remember going to the gym, I didn’t get slippery but I remember it ending up all over my clothes. So whether there was any lotion involved in addition to the spray tan, I can’t call that. The promoter said she didn’t feel greasy. I did remember that and was thinking how funny it would be if I did get a spray tan, but I am not gonna do that. But no, no stock in that all and even if it was, I am sure that was a complete accident and isn’t something she would play with again. No one wants that reputation anyway.
Q: You and your husband also corner each other, any pros or cons to that?
A: The pros are, we don’t need to say a whole lot and have our own little code. We don’t make a code to hide what we are saying from our opponent, that is a benefit but mostly it is just a way of communication. If I start yelling “Dominick Cruz” he knows exactly what I am talking about. It is probably not what you think it would be. The idea probably came from Dominick Cruz but it is nothing you have probably ever seen him do, it doesn’t make any sense, but it is a nickname we have given things. So if I am yelling that, he knows what I am saying. It is a quick way to communicate. That is the pro. The con ends up more on my end as a coach. Sometimes he doesn’t take what I say as seriously as if Drysdale was there with us and said “Bendy take him down.” If he has been working on a technique and is bound and determined to get it and isn’t listening to me telling him to try something else. I listen to him pretty well. I wish he would talk more but I think that is the same with any coach. My former coach, he talked to much, so everybody has their own coaching style. Bendy feels like if he has worked with you and has everything right, then he doesn’t need to say very much.
Q: I have one girl I have cornered for a couple fights, and I think she is able to get things from a short word or just when maybe she is against the cage, a head nod, would you compare it to that?
A: Absolutely! You don’t have to say much and you know the small words. Between rounds we don’t say much either. In his fight I said “are those body kicks hurting you?” and he said “no!” He was playing possum and I know he does that, so when he dropped him with a body kick that is actually what was happening, he was fine. We have that to. He has over thirty professional fights so all I can do is give him little tweaks. He has gone to Russia with people who don’t even speak the same language, he has done a lot himself and is self reliant. I am becoming more that way, he makes me more self reliant. He is there to tell me things I don’t see.
Q: So is it fair to say a big part of you just wanting him and a couple people there is more just for emotional support?
A: I think it is both. I like the emotional support. Fight nerves are different every time, we’ve talked about this. Sometimes I need to be snuggled and I can’t imagine my big Bulgarian coach snuggling me.
Q: What is the key to winning this fight?
A: I am gonna tell you, it is a technique I have dubbed the Casimir Flip. Until then it is just a matter of me doing what I do best.
Q: How does this fight end?
A: The Casimir Flip in the second round.
Q: You mentioned offers coming in but is something like Invicta a goal or more a case of if it happens, it happens?
A: I am in the middle. It would be amazing to finally be there where I feel I belong but if it doesn’t, I feel I have a lot to prove to myself more than anyone else in the world so I will be cool if that never happens but I would like for it to.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Off the top of my head, my girls Lehua and Kalei who have been sparring with me and getting me ready, always my striking coach Jim, he is my guy, of course my husband who takes care of everything for me, my family, sister and nephew who always have my back, Robert Drysdale who is brilliant and everything he has been doing has really been clicking for me, and Pat Wilson who has been taking care of me and my husband, and of course my fantastic friend and corner, Jason Adams for having my back lately and lifting my spirits when I need it.
Q: I love that guy. But seriously, thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you