Amateur MMA is on the rise. Led by IMMAF, the sport is rapidly approaching recognition by the IOC and becoming a part of the Olympic Games. Earlier this month, IMMAF held the European Championships for the first time post-pandemic. In the bantamweight division, Paulina Kontna took home the gold medal back to Poland and is looking forward to more action on the year.
Her journey through martial arts started at a young age. She wrestled up until 2018. When she became discontent with all that, she looked for more, which she found. But it wasn’t until later that she found mixed martial arts. I started my adventure with martial arts when I was a child.
“I started wrestling when I was 9 years old. My last start in wrestling competitions was in 2018. That didn’t give me that much satisfaction anymore, so I started looking for something else. I found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I took part in competitions a few times, but it still wasn’t that. The coaches at the club talked me into MMA and that’s how I started my adventure.”
Outside of training for competition, Kontna still lives a pretty normal life aside from cage fighting. When she isn’t training, she’s still very heavily involved in sports.
“Apart from training, I work. I am the director of the Municipal and Communal Sports Center in my hometown. Apart from that, I am a wrestling trainer and I conduct trainings for children.”
Paulina Kontna and The IMMAF
As mentioned earlier, Paulina Kontna took home the gold in the IMMAF Euros. The tournament saw Kontna win three bouts but her championship bout was by far her most impressive. With relentless vigor, she managed to put away Italy’s Ilaria Norcia and bring home the gold for Poland.
“After the fight, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I guess I can’t believe it all the time. When I stood on the podium and heard the Polish anthem, I was touched. It was a wonderful and unforgettable moment.”
Kontna takes a Bruce Lee approach to her career and simply lives in the moment. She’s not looking forward to the future but she is ready to fight at a moment’s notice.
“I have no specific goals,” Kontna says. “I want to fight, that’s for sure. What will we see. I want to play with it and enjoy it. This is the most important thing for me.”
Her experience with IMMAF was nothing but great as well. The amateur organization does a great job organizing events and Paulina Kontna saw that first hand.
“I was at the IMMAF competition for the first time. The whole event made a huge impression on me. Everything was perfectly prepared.”
Paulina Kontna on turning pro, the Olympics and Polish MMA
As mentioned, Paulina Kontna isn’t ready to make a commitment on the future just yet. She says despite her success in the IMMAF Euros, turning pro isn’t quite on her mind just yet. There’s still the World Championships coming up for Kontna to dive into that she would have a good shot at winning.
“I cannot answer this question. I don’t think this is a good time yet. I have little experience in amateur MMA. I still have a lot of shortcomings. I still have a lot to learn, many things to improve.”
In the UFC, Poland is well represented. Jan Blachowicz currently holds the light heavyweight title. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the former strawweight champion. Mateusz Gamrot is the latest contender in a deep lightweight division. When asked about the Polish talent in the UFC, she says she looks to their success as the blueprint to her career and looks to follow in their path laid down.
“It’s nice to hear that someone appreciates Polish players. It is known that the leading players of our country are an inspiration for us, young players. One would like to follow in their footsteps.”
Of course we cannot talk about the IMMAF without mentioning the Olympic Games. It’s the organization’s ultimate goal, after all. Paulina Kontna believes it’s an awesome thought to have MMA in The Games. But for her, she doesn’t look too much into the future and isn’t holding her breath on going to the Olympics.
“I think this is a great idea. It is known that many more matters would have to be agreed, but it would be a great opportunity for many people. It used to be my dream to go to the Olympics, but for now I don’t think about it until there is specific information.”
Regardless of the path she takes, Paulina Kontna has already accomplished so much. The future for her in her career is bright. She will continue her growth as a mixed martial artist!