Photo by Mitch Viquez
When it comes to martial arts in general, people have a tendency to think that these sports are dominated by male competitors from all around the world. We spoke today with Genah Fabian, a 27 years old professional athlete and fighter from New Zealand who comes up with a charming smile and great fighting records.
Having grown up in a sports family with her mother, a competitive track athlete and father playing rugby, and cousins (playing and representing at the highest levels) for the All Blacks and Manu Samoa, she started competing in track and field at the age of 6, it is only recent years that Genah started to train for Muay Thai and MMA following some holidays in the beautiful island of Phuket.
“I initially started Muay Thai for some off season training to try something new for fitness purposes but fell in love and became passionate about it soon after then it completely changed my world around,” she said.
“The first competition/fight was in Phuket. It was a weird out of the body experience at the time (laugh) because you don’t know what to expect. Anything can happen. I just went really blank and nervous before the fight but I remember when I got into the ring, I was actually very calm. I don’t remember much else in terms of the fight, it was probably pretty shocking and ugly (laugh) but I won that first fight. It’s a funny memory looking back now,” she laughed.
Since then she began competing in local and international fights and now holds a solid record of 6 wins – 2 losses in Muay Thai and 1 win – 0 loss in Mixed Martial Arts.
“I fought one fighter last year named Carleigh Crawford who’s also a top Australian fighter in my weight division. She is a world champion and holds a few titles and belts. We had a great fight. She was a very tough and experienced opponent. I beat her up pretty bad but when the decision went to the judges, they gave her the win. Many people who watched the fight agreed, there’s no way I should have lost. But that’s what fighting in Thailand is like anything can happen and it does haha. ” (see the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEOgD19H1l8)
Genah vs Steph Glew for ISKA Australian Muaythai title
“My most recent fight was Muay Thai, against Australian No.1 girl for the ISKA Muay Thai title, Steph Glew, and I won that fight. It was a very big learning experience I took a lot away from it. Very good to mix it with her.”
For MMA, her first fight was last year back in Australia and she won via elbows in the clinch in round two.
“It was amazing getting in there, a new set of rules options and challenges. I trained so hard for it and it was the first time fighting with the small gloves. I love it.”
“That is where my career is going now and where my path and focuses are, fighting and building my career in Mixed Martial Art and of course, any kickboxing or Muay Thai fights that come up in between where I can is all fight experience. Leveling up and closing the gaps on the rest of the package w mixed martial art like Brazilian Jiujitsu and wrestling, etc.”
On her perspective, Muay Thai makes her feel more relaxed when fighting while MMA consists of more techniques and challenges for her.
“I’m definitely more at ease with Muay Thai, However, I cannot say one would be easier than the other one as the rules, rounds timing and discipline for each sport are different.”
“While I am more confident with Muay Thai, I like that MMA encourages me to learn different techniques from a multitude of martial arts, such as Brazilian Jujitsu, wrestling, and kickboxing.”
“MMA is a combination of many martial arts background while Muay Thai is about striking with eight different weapons such as kicks, punches, knees, and elbows.”
After a tough training, Genah said relaxing is an equally necessary part to balance the pain and stress in the body.
“It’s multiple times a day on my body so, the body takes a lot of beating and little injuries because of the movements and techniques. I have to practice every day so, it takes its toll on the body. There are many injuries in training, some serious, some not so serious. So, looking after my body is essential. Many important things like recovery, rehab and yoga are as important as hard training.”
Genah Fabian vs Jojo Oblevics first pro MMA fight Perth Australia
Training in Phuket is an awesome experience but the decision to start a new life as a professional fighter was not an easy one, as she recalls she had a successful job in media at the time when she moves from NZ to Sydney. As well as having a promising career in rowing competing on the national circuit in Australia.
“For my family, it was a bit tough for them to understand why I decided to move to Phuket to train in Muay Thai. However, I felt happy and confident as I followed my heart. Now that they’ve seen that I am gifted at martial arts and can actually make a living out of it, they fully support my decision and encourage me every day.”
When asked why she chose Phuket as a training destination, she replied that the quality of life on the tropical island is much better, especially for an athlete looking for training.
“Believe it or not, but Phuket has become a central hub for training in South East Asia. More and more fitness, training centers and martial arts facilities are popping up on the island, making it a great place to train for fitness weight loss vacations or to pursue a professional career in fighting or as an athlete of a different discipline.”
“The cost of life in Phuket is also relatively cheaper than in New Zealand and Australia, and generally, the food on offer is healthy and contributes to the well-being of our performances.”
She mentioned that she also experienced Thanyapura and was impressed by the world standard facility and service.
“I also visited and trained in Thanyapura before. It’s an amazing and beautiful facility. From the moment you walk in, you can see that the facility is a top-notch and world class. The staff there including Aaron and Macca looked after me and my friends so well. We tried a lot of activities and classes there. I love the mind training course.”
Photo of Genah and friends including Mark Super Samoan Hunt and other top Australian/NZ fighters upon a visit to Thanyapura this year.
Genah has recently signed a contract with a big MMA organization in the US. She will start fighting there in August.
It’s a four-fight contract. I’ve never fought in the US before. I’m excited and I will soak it up and tick it off as one of those cool experiences in life before you die. This is an amazing opportunity and what I have worked and sacrificed so much for over the years. So it’s just the start of something great it will be awesome how it unfolds. A lot of hard work focus has been put in behind the scenes a lot of things that many have no idea about or see. I can’t wait to do it.”
To see more about Genah Fabian, visit: