- Recently on Instagram, you said that there are big changes ahead. What did they mean?
- This was due to the move to Florida. We decided to settle here. Therefore, we can say that cardinal changes have taken place in life.
- Judging by the posts on Instagram, you stayed in Brazil longer than you planned. But were the conditions for preparing for battle good there?
- Yes. But it's still better to train in the USA. Although upon arrival in Florida, I was not in the best mood. Thiago Santos (UFC fighter, common-law husband of Kunitskaya - RT ) and I took coronavirus tests and said that they would be ready within 12 hours. In fact, the results came five days later. At that moment I thought that there were all conditions in Brazil, but here we can't even get into the hall.
- As far as we know, you have joined the American Top Team. Why did you choose this particular camp?
- Because of Thiago. He has been training here for five years.
- Where do you see the benefits of studying at ATT?
- Large coaching staff - one specialist in each individual discipline. Huge selection of sparring partners. In addition, in September, Thiago will have a fight with Glover Teixera, in connection with which he needs to pay enough attention to his preparation. In Brazil, this was not possible, because most of the time he helped me. In the USA, he began full-fledged training camps.
- In one of your interviews you said that you would like to have a duel not on Fight Island in the UAE, but in the United States. Why?
- It's much more convenient. I train in the States, I am much more comfortable playing here. In order to get to Abu Dhabi, you need to make a flight for many hours, and then undergo acclimatization. There is a completely different climate. It is not clear how the organism will behave in the new conditions.
- The fight with Peter Jan at UFC 251 began at 9 a.m. local time. This is probably not very comfortable either ...
- Certainly. In such conditions, it is very difficult to predict how you will feel.
- Is it just a matter of comfort, or do you think that in the United States you can attract more attention from management or fans?
- Right. Most of my Instagram followers are Americans. But fighting in the States is also useful in terms of attracting sponsors.
- Judging by the videos , during your training in Brazil you paid special attention to striking technique.
- Many fans are seriously mistaken when evaluating the training process from photos on social networks. For example, before the last battles, Yoanna Jencejczyk constantly posted pictures from the beach, and many thought that she was not engaged. In fact, everything is different. I spent a lot of time fighting. But I will not go up to someone and ask: "Take pictures of me, please, I'm fighting here."
- You often post photographs in which you work with Santos ...
- Naturally, we do not conduct joint training. I have my own sparring partners, Thiago has his own. Together we can stretch as much as possible. At the same time, he helps me a lot with advice. I think that they did good, and lately I have grown a lot as a fighter.
- The video in which Thiago hits you on the body has become quite popular. You looked like you didn't feel anything ...
- At first he touched very lightly. I barely persuaded him to hit a little harder.
“At the end, you can see Santos slowing down. But were there any bad takes where he hit too hard?
- On the contrary. This is the maximum that we managed to get out of it.
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Publication from Yana “Foxy” Kunitskaya (@yanamma) Jul 6, 2020 10:12 am PDT
- You are in eighth place in the ranking. How many more victories do you think you need to win to claim the title?
- I try not to guess, but to tune in for the next fight. In addition, the UFC does not have a completely objective system for selecting candidates. For the same men, the athlete who loses in the last fight can get the right to fight for the belt.
- For example?
- The same Yoel Romero fought for the title after losing to Paulo Costa. At the time of the battle with Peter Jan, Jose Aldo had two failures in a row.
- There is a popular belief among fans that half of the women's divisions can be closed due to lack of competition. Do you agree?
- Personally, I do not see the point in the existence of a featherweight. It was originally opened because of Cyborg and is now practically empty. At the moment, only Megan Anderson can not lose up to 61.2 kg, so she performs in this category. The rest of the girls are forced to dial in order to fight in it.
- For many years, the problem of the category up to 56.7 kg among men was the lack of competition. Demetrius Johnson reigned there, who defeated absolutely everyone. Now the same can be seen in yours. Is there a girl in the UFC who can beat Amanda Nunez?
- Anything can happen in a single duel. But, honestly, I don’t see a worthy opponent yet. Let's see how the battle between Holly Holm and Aldana ends. Irene has a knockout blow and in case of an accurate hit, she could cope with the champion. But I would still bet on Amanda.
- And if you take female fighters from other categories?
- Only if Kayla Harrison descends from the light weight, or Valentina Shevchenko will rise from the "straws".
- Can Nunez be called the greatest female MMA fighter in history?
- Yes, she proved it. Amanda cleared the entire bantamweight category, then moved up a category and won there.
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Post from Yana “Foxy” Kunitskaya (@yanamma) Aug 1, 2020 2:15 am PDT
- Do you feel that over the past couple of years, interest in women's MMA has grown solidly?
- Naturally. For example, it used to be difficult to train - the specialists paid less attention, and it was difficult with sparring partners. Now there is no such thing. And much has changed in terms of sponsorship contracts. Women began to earn money on a par with men.
- There is an opinion that some girls get into the UFC because of their appearance. So, Curtis Blades recently stated this, in particular, mentioning Paige Vanzant and Rachel Ostovich. Do you agree with his opinion?
- I believe that this also happens in men. Not everyone gets to the UFC because of talent. Some are popular, others are trash-current. Moreover, they get the opportunity to perform even in the main cards. At different times, various showmen and wrestling stars got there.
- Is the presence of such fighters as Vanzante and Ostovich in the women's divisions necessary?
- Yes. The UFC is a commercial organization and tries to reach the widest possible audience. If everyone is like Amanda, it will very badly affect the popularity of women's MMA.
Is there a girl in the UFC now who can achieve the same level of fame as Rhonda Rousey?
- It is hard to say. Let's take the same Amanda. She is a champion in two divisions, but her orientation and behavior seriously affect her popularity. If she was more feminine, traditional, she would be a big star. I think in the future someone will appear, but so far no one has reached the level of Rhonda.
- Director of the MMA direction at UFC Gym Russia Shamil Suleimanov admitted that he does not understand why journalists ignore Yana Kunitskaya. Do you think this is really so?
- I wouldn't say. Perhaps only the Russian media. I give a lot of interviews in English and Portuguese, so I don't lack attention. Perhaps this applies to domestic fans. There is still a skeptical attitude towards female fights in Russia.
- What is it connected with?
- With a mentality. We have it more traditional. In the United States, there is no division into female and male. Nobody will tell you: “Are you fighting? Go cook borscht. " We have this all the time.
- And they often tell you that?
- Everyday. They write in the comments under the photos and in private messages. Moreover, this comes exclusively from Russian-speaking users. Sometimes it is written in English, but you open the profile and see that the person is from the CIS. I can't imagine an American could say that.
- How do you react?
- No way. That is why I don’t run Instagram in Russian. There is a lot of criticism, but there are practically no advantages. All my sponsorships and fans are here in the US. I don't want to get negative from my compatriots.
- Would the appearance of the Russian UFC champion change the attitude towards women's fights in the country?
- I don’t think so. Now there are two Russian champions in the promotion, but they still receive a lot of negativity.
- Nevertheless, in Russian promotions, women's fights are arranged, and their number is gradually increasing ...
- Yes it is. But the attitude is still skeptical.
- Do you think something will change over time?
- It seems to me that the situation will remain the same.
- Is playing in the USA the only way out?
- Yes. But this applies not only to performances, but also to training.
- What is wrong in this aspect?
- There are no necessary conditions in Russia. And this applies not only to women, but also to men. In terms of the development of MMA, our country lags behind for several decades.
- What is the reason?
- In coaches. It often happens in our country that one person leads several disciplines, in parallel is engaged in management and nutrition. Is that not yet massage. It is necessary to understand that it is physically impossible to cope with such a volume of work alone.
If a mentor takes on several directions, works with a number of athletes and regularly seconds them, then he does not have time for self-development. MMA is a very rapidly evolving sport. And here you need to constantly monitor new trends.
- How many specialists should there be in one camp?
- 10-15 people.
- In July, Peter Yan defeated Jose Aldo and became the second undisputed UFC champion from Russia. How did you react?
- I was very happy. Of course, I was rooting for him. But the victory was expected. Ian was the favorite and confirmed it.
- After the victory of Khabib Nurmagomedov, you said that if he were from Ryazan, they would be more willing to root for him. Do you see now that Yan is more supported by Russian fans?
- Russian - more, Dagestan - less. Therefore, everything is balanced. We have a lot of negativity towards those athletes who did not deserve this. For example, many of our compatriots were rooting against Ian and even after his success they said that he did not beat anyone from the top 5 bantamweight.
- What is the reason for this attitude?
“I think by belittling others, some people are trying to elevate themselves. They themselves cannot achieve anything, so they throw out this negativity in order to feel better. You will never hear similar comments from other famous athletes, experts in their field. Usually this is written by losers, schoolchildren who have nothing to do.
- After losing to Cyborg, you admitted that you became the target of a hate from the fans. What was the essence of the claims?
- It is hard to say. Some wanted me to "all the children died", others wrote: "You are so terrible. If only next time you were beaten so that you would die right there. I don't know how to explain this.
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Post by Yana “Foxy” Kunitskaya (@yanamma) Jul 4, 2020 5:01 am PDT
- Have you tried to understand the reason?
- Not. It just became less contact with the Russian audience. Let them write if you like.
- On the eve of that tournament, were there any thoughts that the UFC leadership hoped for your success in the confrontation with Cyborg? After all, Dana White was not very positive about the Brazilian.
- Then the promotion tried to save the tournament. There was no title fight and all possible options were considered. I don't think Dana really counted on my victory.
- It is clear that thanks to the fight with Cyborg, a lot of people learned about you. But don't you think now that it was not the best option to debut in the UFC?
- Naturally, but then I had no options. Many people ask: "Why did you agree to this fight?" But in the UFC, you practically can't choose who and when you fight. Now I can say with confidence that I do not regret anything. Then I got a great experience.
- I understand correctly that then you were faced with a choice - either to fight with Cyborg, or ...
- Do not fight at all.
- Wait for another option to play in the UFC?
- In that case, there would be no more such chance.
- In May, many wondered why Tony Ferguson did not wait for a meeting with Khabib Nurmagomedov, but decided to fight for the interim title with Justin Gaethje. Could the reasons be similar to yours?
“I think Ferguson has a warrior heart. So he wanted to fight and hoped to win. It is very difficult to reason for others. Perhaps at that moment he had financial problems. In the end, everything turned out exactly like this. Tony started badly and was unable to rebuild during the duel.
- Who is a more convenient opponent for Khabib - Tony or Justin?
- Ferguson. Gaji has a knockout punch, and such fighters always have a chance.
- Gaethje is a basic fighter. In your opinion, will he be able to resist Nurmagomedov in this aspect?
- I think no. Khabib will dominate on the ground. If he succeeds in transferring Justin to the flooring, then the fight will be the same as with Dustin Poirier.