Thursday, April 1, 2010
Jessica "Baby Bull" Hilger Interview
I have said it many times before. For 17 years MMA has been my favorite sport. Like anyone I have favorite fighters. What makes up one of my favorite fighters? Heart, determination, love for the sport, dedicated, skill, and the desire to keep improving. By the way, I just described Jessica "Baby Bull" Hilger. Jessica is someone I wanted to do an interview with for quite a while, and finally we were able to do it. Jessica is everything I love about the sport. Jessica is 6-1-1 as an amateur and is about to make her pro debut. No doubt she will do great, and go on to bigger and better things and one day you will see Jessica fighting top names because she will be a top name. For those of you who have not heard of Jessica, I am honored to be able to introduce you to a talented fighter and an awesome woman, Jessica "Baby Bull" Hilger.
Q: first, Jessica, thanks for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this opportunity to get my name out there.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: I am from Wisconsin, my family moved to Wyoming 8 yrs ago. Where my dad followed his dreams. Built his own home, which is a true log cabin and I am so proud of him for following his dreams. I have 3 younger sisters, 2 of which are married and my baby sister graduates from High School this year. I have lived on my own from 18 as a very independent women. I have always had a lot of heart and determination in everything I do. I am very head strong and focused.
Q: Growing up, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports?
A: Growing up from a young age, I was a farm girl. I used to do a lot of running and playing on the farm, I wasn't too much into sports. I found my entertainment with the animals, open pastures, and my siblings. I played a little volleyball in High School for a couple years.
Q: So what got you interested in training for MMA?
A: About three years ago I was a bit heavier and wanted to lose some weight. I started learning some boxing moves from a friend that was interested in the sport and had learned from a gym in Madison, WI. He pushed me very hard with the running and all the grueling dedication making sure I wasn't wasting his time. We went to watch a local boxing event and I fell in love with the sport. I told him that I want to compete in that event the next year, that was my goal. We trained just a home, either my house or his, then we found out that a gym in our town of Lancaster, WI ( America's Best Karate)wanted to start up a MMA program, which he was interested in. I watched the first night he was there and I join the second night and immediately fell in love with MMA more. From that point on I started training MMA. That was April of 2008.
Q: How long were you training before your first fight and what made you decide to fight?
A: I started going to amateur fight nights at a local spot in Dubuque, Ia in June of 2008. I wanted to see how I would do in the sport and of course if I could REALLY take a hit. That organization then decided to bring an event to my home town in Aug of 2008. Where I had my first amateur fight and it was a battle. I, after 3 long rounds won the decision. It felt great since I was the underdog. She was undefeated in her record.
Q: Any memories of that first fight?
A: My first fight I remember being so nervous that I thought I was going to puke. I wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish my dreams.
Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported at the time and how about now?
A: Yes. My family and friends supported me in fighting. They saw how happy it made me. I did though loose some contact with some friends due to the hectic and dedicated schedule of training I kept. I also though acquired new friends within the fight scene. I truly think as people grow and truly find there dreams that some friendships grow apart. But they are never forgotten, only taken in different directions. I have a great support behind me I think from friends and my family.
Q: What is your amateur record so far?
A: My amateur record right now is 6-1-1
Q: You are getting ready for your first pro fight? Who is it against and where?
A: My first debut is in Cabot, Arkansas for AXC and it is against Kim Connor-Hamby.
Q: Where do you train?
A: Right now I train in my hometown of Lancaster, WI at America's Best Karate under the teachings of Brian Wellington. I work a full-time job so I train before and after my shifts if my days so allow me too. On my days off I drive 2 hours each way to train in Cedar Rapids, IA at the Valhalla Combat Gym with Team Hard Drive. I train with a lot of great people there. Some are in the WEC, Bellator, also people making there way to get to the UFC. They have helped me a lot along the way to improve my skills.
Q: Where did the nickname Baby Bull come from?
A: My nickname Baby Bull was blessed upon my by my first teacher and friend. He had helped me realize that I truly love this sport. First person to help me realize that is another fellow fighter, David "LilThunder" Hartline. As he was teaching me some punches, he noticed when I was frustrated with myself that I would paw and scrap at the ground with my foot like a bull does before it would charge. He decided to that my nick name should be BABY BULL and the name has stuck from there. I believe that I have truly lived up to my nickname as well.
Q: What would you call your biggest strength right now, and one thing you want to improve on?
A: My biggest strength right now I believe is my ground and pound also the guys from Hard Drive tell me my straight right is very strong as well. I currently have been working on improving my stand up game. Learning more boxing and applying it to the MMA game.
Q: Do you have any favorite fighters to watch?
A: I enjoy watching Gina Carano fight. I also enjoying watching any potential opponents fight.
Q: As a female fighter, what did it mean to you for Cyborg and Gina Carano to Main Event a big U.S. televised show?
A: To see those 2 ladies make there way to a big televised event felt great, I truly felt that female MMA is progressing more every day and they help open the door for up and coming fighters knowing we can possible show our skills to the nation. Women can be as exciting to watch fighting as men. It is a man's game we are playing but still trying to make a name for ourselves and show that we as women can be as dedicated to the sport as men.
Q: If you could make any two fights, men or women happen, what fights would you want to see?
A: I truly would like to see myself up against a top known fighter eventually. I.E. Kauffman, Tate, Carano among those great fighters.
Q: What is the biggest misconception bout women who fight or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: A lot of people ask me how can you do that, its so viscous and harsh. To tell you the truth yes the sport is dangerous but you watch out for yourself along with your corner and the ref. Accidents can happen with any situation your in. Yes we are putting ourselves in that situation but we also know we are there. So really you can get hurt at anytime whether you are fighting ,working, driving, etc. You are just more aware of protecting yourself when you fight. I get this sort of talk from my Dad when we are on the subject at times. I try to explain to him my concept, but I'm his first born and his baby girl and he wants me safe. He is proud of me but still wants to protect me I guess. Others think that since I'm a lady I should act like one, I think no matter who you are, you should do what makes you happy and if its something that other people don't see as lady like then that's their opinion, but I don't have to let it influence me.
Q: Usually you watch a show on TV, and the women's fight ends up being the most exciting fight of the night. Why do you think that is?
A: Partially I believe that its because most people don't expect women to be hard core as men. Going punch for punch. I also believe its due to the fact that seeing female fights are more rare compared to male fights and you don't know what to expect from them. Then you see that they do train just as hard as the can to give everyone the best show ever. I know I do. Most people expect women to be a tad softer just the nature of a women but some of us can actually get in there a brawl and be soft at the same time.
Q: Do you ever see there being a major U.S. women's only company in the U.S.?
A: I think the possibility is there but it may be down the road a ways yet.
Q: Do you think women's MMA is becoming more accepted by fans?
A: I think more people everyday are accepting women's MMA, but its still a work in progress.
Q; If another woman told you she wanted to start training for MMA, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A; I would advise her to go for her all with it. Training MMA you can not be half into it. You could get seriously hurt if you are not 100%. I would give her my information and let her know if she has any questions to feel free to contact me.
Q: Outside of fighting and training, any other hobbies or activates you enjoy?
A: I love hanging out with friends, doing outdoor activities, i.e. fishing, four wheeling, even mini golf.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jessica Hilger?
A: A typical day is going to work as a customer service manager at a grocery store, then going straight to the gym, and after that home to clean up and housework ( the little bit I have since I'm never home, but mostly laundry lol) and off to bed, just to start the day over again about the same.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: The one thing that people are surprised to hear is that I used to be a Massage Therapist.
Q: Describe Jessica Hilger in five words
A: Determination, Heart, Dedication, Head Strong, Compassionate
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I Would like to thank my manager Nick Marin who took a chance on me and has helped me so much along the way. Also TuffTeeth Custom Mouthguards for making my personalized mouth guard for me free. Carried out fight gear who has sent me clothing and from my hometown Kane Roofing who helps me with my gym fees monthly. All of which I am so grateful for.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they contact you and what are they getting in Jessica Hilger the fighter and athlete?
A: Yes, I would like to acquire more sponsors if possible. They can contact me through my email email@example.com They will be investing in a fighter that never gives up and who strives for the stars. I, myself, would like to accomplish my dreams and that is to take myself to the furthest depths of the game.
Q: Jessica, again, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I want to thank you so much for helping me along my journey to reach my dream of succeeding everything I put my mind to. Any help is always greatly appreciated.