Jamey-Lyn Horth has barely sat down before she jumps into her story.
“I’m like a squirrel,” she confesses. “Over here, over there, I’m always on the go.”
It’s no surprise. This 26-year-old plays striker for team Impact in the Metro Women Soccer League while also charging up the rankings in mixed martial arts (MMA). On top of that, there’s her full-time job at Squamish’s Sports Source, coaching youth soccer games and the two- to three-hour sessions at the gym every day.
If that weren’t enough, Horth also competes in the Squamish Logger Sports.
“I’ve always loved sports,” Horth says, noting she first laced up her soccer cleats when she was 4 years old.
Encouraged by Battlefield League bantamweight titleholder, Squamish’s Cole Smith, Horth hit the mats in MMA fighting three years ago. His brother, Kasey, who is the head kickboxing instructor at The Sound Martial Arts gym, also egged her on.
“He said, ‘once you come in you will never leave,’” Horth reminisces.
Kasey was right. The sport is quickly becoming one of her favourites, with Horth deciding to focus on it in the future. It’s similar to soccer, she notes, because there’s a strong mental element to it. Each position a fighter finds herself in demands a certain move.
“People always think that it is just getting punched in the face, but it is mental too. There is always a counter to something. I like the adrenaline. I like competing and pushing my body,” she says, adding the energy used in a three-minute MMA round took her by surprise. “I’m fit. I can run a soccer field for 90 minutes with no problem, but when I first started mixed martial arts I was exhausted after a three-minute round.”
Horth is currently training for a fight in Battlefield Fight League 47 on Saturday, Feb. 18. She’s up against Lupita Godinez, whom she beat once before in a split decision. Godinez asked for a re-match.
Godinez is kicking off her career, so Horth doesn’t have a lot of history to draw from when it comes to her opponent’s fight style. That’s often the case, Horth says, noting MMA is still a relative new sport for women.
Thanks to the work of female MMA pioneers, like Olympic judo medal holder Ronda Rousey who, in 2012, became the first female fighter signed by the Ultimate fighting Championship (UFC), more women are picking up the sport.
“It’s definitely become more acceptable for women to become a part of the sport nowadays,” Horth says. “Right now I am one of the few girls that trains martial arts at The Sound Martial Arts gym. Obviously I’d like to see more women in martial arts.”
MMA is now one of the few sports in which female competitions are as popular as their male counterparts, she says, adding women athletes often top fight league’s cards.
“There is so much excitement around the girls’ fights.”
One day Horth says she would like to follow Rousey’s footsteps and fight in the UFC. It’s an ultimate goal that she knows requires a lot of time, training and dedication.
There’s no other feeling in the world quite like stepping into the cage, she says. All one’s hard work is put to the ultimate test.
“When I walk in the ring, I have no where else to go. Nowhere to hide. It is so mental at that point.”
Horth is looking forward to her upcoming battle. She’s itching to get a second W under her belt.
“I have the tools and I know I am ready.”