I had a chance to interview EliteXC fighter, Kaitlin Young, earlier this week. Young will be fighting Gina Carano on May 31 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The fight will be shown live on CBS.
Young is from Minnesota and trains at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy along with other notable MMA fighters such as Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar. This 22-year-old fighter also works on her strength and conditioning at Athletic Performance Inc. in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Besides being a MMA fighter, she also is a student at the University of Minnesota studying kinesiology. She won an eight-woman tournament last November by knocking out all three of her opponents in one night to become the HookNShoot Tournament Champion.
She has a professional record of 4-1. Check out her interview and also her fight and training videos at
Hey Kaitlin, how are you doing today?
I'm doing very well. Thanks.
How is training going along for your fight with Gina Carano?
Training is going very well. I have been able to put more time into training for this fight than any of my previous bouts.
Who are you currently training with and helping you prepare for this fight?
There are multiple people I have been training with in preparation for this fight. Greg Nelson and Tom Schmitz, who will both be in my corner, have spent a lot of time helping me train for this fight. Scott Ramsdell, my strength and conditioning coach, has also been absolutely instrumental. Of course, I have many training partners that are a great help too.
Gina's last opponent Tonya Evinger said “I’d like to make out with Gina, but I am here to knock her out." Do you have any of the same thoughts as Tonya?
No ... except maybe the last part about attempting to knock her out!
Have you fought in a cage before or will this be your first time fighting in a cage?
Actually, my first MMA fight was in a cage. Aside from that, the rest have been in a ring.
What do you think the biggest difference is between fighting in a cage as to fighting in the ring?
I think the cage presents a different atmosphere. You have to sprawl differently against the cage. Ground work can be inhibited, or you can be saved on the ground by the cage where as in a ring, you and your opponent would have space to move under the ropes. I think a cage also can make the clinch more dangerous.
Do you have a preference between fighting in a ring or a cage?
I think fighting in a cage better suits my style at this point.
What will be your entrance music when you walk out to the cage on May 31?
I haven't decided on a song yet for this fight. I usually come out to "Thunderstruck" by ACDC because years ago, a couple of my training partners nicknamed me "Thunderfoot" when I first started Muay Thai.
How did you do with your finals?
I'm finishing up finals this week. I only have about 20 credits left before I graduate.
What do you want to do once you get your kinesiology degree?
If I had it my way, I would fight for a while before having to get a real job. If that doesn't work out, I have tossed around the idea of going into research.
Does your training camp overlap with Sean Sherk's?
Yes, it overlaps with Sean's training quite a bit. I am very excited to watch that fight. Sean looks better than ever right now.
Can you tell us about your Muay Thai background? How do you think your Muay Thai compares to Gina's?
Honestly, I only did Muay Thai for two years before getting into MMA. I think I read somewhere that she studied for three years before making the switch. I think she probably has more pure Muay Thai experience, but I feel that my style of Muay Thai is more well suited for MMA.
Why weren't you on the EliteXC poster for the event and did that make you mad?
I don't know why I wasn't on it. I don't really care all that much. It really pissed my mom off though! (laughs)
What weight are you most comfortable fighting at?
I have tried to gain some muscle for this fight, so right now I am comfortable with 140. The unfortunate part of trying to maintain mass is that I have to eat to the point of being uncomfortable to maintain my body weight while training heavy cardio. It would be easier for me to fight at 135, or potentially 130.
Which was more satisfying during your HookNShoot tournament fights - that high kick that ended the fight or finishing your opponent by knees in the clinch?
I know a head kick finish is flashy, but winning with knees was more satisfying to me. I think that is mostly because my clinch sucked so horribly when I first began fighting and I finally won a fight with it!
Do you know if the upcoming fight will have five minute rounds or three minute rounds, and how do you feel about females having shorter rounds than men?
This fight is going to be three minute rounds. I am against shorter rounds for women. Shorter rounds take an emphasis off of conditioning and hard work, and have the potential to create rationale for women fighters to be paid less because they spend less time in a fight.
How would you feel about a fight with Shayna Baszler?
She is a friend of mine, so in that sense, I would rather not fight her. However, she is a great fighter and I would love to see how that one would go!
What would be your perfect way to end a fight and have you already done it?
I think winning a fight by submission would make me feel most accomplished.
Why are you getting a shot at what many consider the elite female to beat in MMA? Shouldn't that honor be going to someone like Sara Schneider (Schneider defeated Young earlier this year).
I think I am getting this fight with Gina because they want an exciting fight. This is not a title fight. Neither Gina nor I are rated #1 in the women's rankings. Styles make fights and this will be a great one. In regards to Sarah, I know some representatives of Elite were at her last fight at Fatal Femmes. I am unaware if they spoke with her or not, but I know they signed Carina Damm after that show. If they were interested, I am sure they have already contacted her.
How do you think your ground game and wrestling compares to Gina's? Are you worried that if you start to get the better of her standing up, she'll take you down?
It is hard to say where we are in comparison to one another on the ground. She sub'd Tonya Evinger, but I have not seen much of her ground game otherwise. I have been spending a lot of time on the ground lately and tried to get a couple of grappling competitions in between fights. That is a tough one to call. I think that there is a good chance that she might try for the take down.
Can you beat Gina in a serious ground game? Have you improved your ground game since your loss to Sara Schnieder?
Yes, my ground game has improved a lot since my last fight.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and answering questions from the fans and myself. Do you have any final words for the fans out there?
It was my pleasure. I hope you all watch my fight on May 31st! I'd like to thank my sponsors Premier Fighter, MTX Audio and MMA Warehouse. Also, check out gfight.tv if you get a chance!