Hattiesburg resident Kayla Stricker trains for her first MMA fight

Kayla Stricker is 20 years old, stands at 5'2" and chances are she can beat you up.

"I've been doing Taekwondo since I was 7 or 8," said Stricker before her training session.

"I just recently started getting into the more MMA cage fighting in the last 2 or 3 months. I did a karate tournament back in June and they introduced me to it."

"They wanted to see me in the cage, so I decided I would take a step and try something new with my life."

Stricker is trained by her father John, at Revolution Fitness in Hattiesburg, along with another trainer and said the transition to mixed martial arts has been a bit of a challenge.

"Just moving from straight standup [and] moving to the ground work. It was a little difficult, but I've picked up on it pretty fast and we've met up with [Kevin Frazier] in Morton and he's been training me with it for a while and he's helped me a lot, because I train with guys."

"He's actually been in the cage and he's helped me know what to prepare for, what's going to happen, what to focus on."

Stricker will face Ronda Russell in the Multi-Purpose Center at Meridian Community College Saturday.

"This will be my first fight and I am a little nervous to be honest, and the more it gets closer I'm getting more nervous, but I'm trying to ease my mind about it and people are helping me."

"I have a lot of support in the Hattiesburg area and I appreciate it, I really do."

For those that say girls shouldn't step in the cage, Stricker has message for you.

"Girls have a little power too and they can get aggressive," said Stricker with a smile. "Girls can fight if they want to."

"If they put their mind to it and if you set your mind to anything you can do anything. Especially with God you can do anything. God has been there and I have faith in him."