Hailey Cowan's Big Moment

By Ben Duffy Mar 30, 2019


On Friday night, Hailey Cowan had a chance to shine on her biggest stage yet, and she didn’t pass up on the opportunity. At LFA 63, in front of Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, who was in attendance scouting talent for Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, Cowan dominated Sarah Click, bloodying her face with elbows before cinching up a second-round rear-naked choke.

In the aftermath of her victory, the 3-1 flyweight prospect claimed to be happy that she had delivered arguably the best performance of her young career at such a crucial juncture -- and still a bit surprised. “I only found out like two days ago that he was going to be here,” Cowan told Sherdog.com. “My team was kind of trying to hide it from me.”

While she waits to find out whether her performance will net her a spot on the upcoming season of the Contender Series, Cowan maintains she is happy with whatever happens. “I don’t even know if I’d automatically take the chance,” she said. “I kind of want to fight a couple more times in LFA and get the belt.”

While the history of MMA is littered with “next big things” that never panned out, and the 27-year-old Cowan is only a few years and a few fights into her promising career, her budding star power is hard to ignore. At the Bell County Expo Center near Waco, Texas, where she first came to prominence as a nationally-ranked tumbler at Baylor University, the response to her walkout and fight were thunderous, and "All Hail" Cowan t-shirts in the stands may have outnumbered those of all other fighters on the card combined.

This interviewer waited patiently as she cheerfully gave hugs and allowed her picture to be taken with, by his count, over 400 individual fans. Cowan feels the fan support and is grateful for it, but is at a bit of a loss to explain it. “I just try to be nice to people, and so far it’s worked!” she said, with a laugh.

In her in-cage interview after the fight, Cowan joked that she was happy she had finally gotten the chance to show off her “pointy elbows.” Asked if there were any other wrinkles to her game that she had not had the opportunity to demonstrate in the cage yet, she replied, “I’ve got some really great suplexes. So we’ll hopefully get to show that pretty soon.”

Cowan also made several joking references to herself as a “big ol’ girl.” While it should be noted that self-effacing remark is coming from a woman working her way to world-class in her second sport, she did admit that she may not be too long for the 125-pound division.

“I walk around at 145 pounds, 12 percent body fat and I probably weigh 145 right now,” she said, an hour after her fight. “It’s not too bad now, but as I get older I probably won’t be able to stay at flyweight.”

With the evening winding down in the wake of an exhilarating, perhaps career-changing win, after hundreds of hugs and a half-dozen interviews, were there any questions that Cowan hadn’t been asked yet, and wished she had? “Nobody’s asked me about my dog yet!” she replied.

Fair enough. Let’s hear about your dog.

“She’s half-Lab, half-Doberman. She looks like she should be my protector, but she’s just a big fat pansy. Her name’s Charlie.”

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