This is number twenty-six in Jack Brown’s series of interviews with MMA fighters and personalities, and for this particular interview, we’re pleased to feature Invicta FC strawweight, Jasminka Cive. The Austrian, Cive, will be facing the popular Australian, Bec Hyatt, at Invicta FC 5 on April 5th. The fight will be Cive’s first trip to the United States and she’s hoping to return with more than just souvenirs. Please enjoy our conversation below.
Jack Brown: You are from Austria, and it's not a country we normally associate with MMA. What can you tell us about your homeland and what you appreciate about it? And how are WMMA fighters regarded there?
Jasminka Cive: I love the mountains and rivers. Ha-ha. MMA is growing slowly, but it is growing nevertheless. Austria had its first UFC fighter, then an M-1 Champion, and now two Invicta fighters. I think that is pretty good for such a small country. There’s more to come, I hope. How are fighters regarded? I would say it’s not like other mainstream sports’ athletes. It’s like a fringe sport. Hopefully, it will change.
JB: What was your first experience with martial arts/combat sports, and how did it become more than just a hobby for you?
JC: My first martial art was Karate, in school, when I was ten. I tried some other things and liked them a lot too. I realized that I had talent and that I also loved the sport of fighting. I started my fighting career at twenty-four, and did a lot of Muay Thai, kickboxing, etc., and helped out as a referee sometimes. It was when I reffed an MMA fight that I was instantly hooked and wanted to try it out. I was so excited about it and I loved it from the first minute. Only five weeks later, I made my MMA debut and won by submission! That was 2010. Before that, I had spent twelve years, from 1998 through 2010, training and competing in kickboxing and Muay Thai.
JB: When you began fighting competitively how did your friends and family react?
JC: I have a lot of friends that support me, which helps me a lot. My fiancé does as well. My parents are okay with it, but my mother would rather have me doing something else where I can´t get hurt. I guess that’s how mums are. Ha-ha. I worked as a government official in the past, but then switched full-time to my fighting career because it is my true passion and takes all of my time.
JB: What do you recall about your first professional MMA fight, and how prepared do you feel that you were at the time?
JC: The fight itself wasn’t that hard, but I was totally overwhelmed, stamina-wise. I thought the round would never end. But then I pulled myself together and finished the fight before the bell via submission.
JB: You are undefeated in MMA and you have finished all of your opponents. What performance has been your most satisfying and what do you attribute your success to?
JC: I can´t tell you that exactly, because I enjoyed all of my fights. I am undefeated in combat sports for exactly ten years now. Well, I had that fight against a man and was pretty satisfied with my performance. Maybe that´s one to point out.
What do I attribute success my success to? I think it is because of my will to win and also my strength. I’ve trained my body for twenty years now, nearly every day.
JB: At Invicta FC 5, on April 5th, you will be making your Invicta debut. What do you think of the promotion so far and what other Invicta fighters impress you?
JC: I think it´s the perfect organization. They made it all happen, built everything from scratch and gave female fighters a home. They have high-caliber athletes and good matchmaking which results in great fights and fan-favorite matchups. You can´t get much better than that. I am very happy that Invicta exists and it´s an honor to fight for them.
JB: Your opponent at IFC 5 will be fellow strawweight, Bec Hyatt, and you two will be featured on the main card. What do you think of the popular Australian as an opponent, and what is your response to some of the things that she has been saying about you and your fiancé?
JC: She said so much in the last few weeks. It´s crazy. If you know me, I am a very calm person. That trash-talk she does, doesn't get under my skin. I´ll be ready to do my thing and do the talking in the cage.
If you want to know what happened, here is how I recall it. My fiancé told her, last year, that it seems that she´s on Facebook all day, and she should train rather than chat, which was obviously meant as a joke. After that, she insulted him by saying that he’s ugly, he has roid rage, he has horrible tattoos, and much more, getting very personal. Some weeks ago, she brought it back up and said that he trash-talked about her. Well, it´s all a matter of perspective I guess. Then she asked for drug testing, implying I am on steroids. My fiancé then said something again. Well, to make a long story short, all of their Facebook war was without me knowing because I am not often online. I saw it later and asked him not to get involved with her anymore. Even though I know he wanted to protect me, I can handle it myself. Like I said in other interviews, I am a respectful person and don´t do that childish stuff. I want to be professional.
As a fighter, I respect her a lot. She has not been in the game that long and she did pretty well. But as a person, she showed only hate towards me, which is pretty sad. I was even insulted by her fans via Twitter and Facebook. She said some more stuff, even ranted against my country and my previous opponents, which was very disrespectful and embarrassing. I can´t imagine that anyone, especially not the Invicta officials, liked that. That´s really bad for the sport. That´s not the warrior spirit I prefer. However, I can tell my fans that it will be a hell of a show. Don´t blink!
JB: Where have you been training for this fight and who has been helping you evolve as a mixed martial artist?
JC: Lincon Rodrigues, a black belt in BJJ, was my first MMA trainer. I’ve also trained for a long time at the Ettl-Bros Team in Graz and MMA-Vienna. Now I also train at M-1 champion, Beckan Taisumov’s, and do Olympic wrestling at ASKOE Leonding. I am a martial artist and I like everything, the ground game and the standup game as well.
JB: You are a young woman with a long future ahead of you. What are some plans and goals that you have outside of fighting?
JC: I also work as a promoter. In fact, my next fight event will be two days before I fly over for Invicta. It´s called Mixfight-Night IV . I hope to build it up as one of the biggest shows in Europe, as it is very popular in Austria. Then I also hope to be victorious at Invicta, and in all of my fights, and keep on fighting. I am excited.
JB: Last question, Jasminka, and thanks for taking the time to do this. What does it mean to you to be a fighter and how much do you enjoy it?
JC: Fighting and training is the time when I can relax. I love it a lot, and I also love the promoting and matchmaking for my own events. I can admit that I really love the sport overall and it´s my life. I live for the sport. I also jump in sometimes as a referee. I studied sports science so I think that I know theory, and I practice stuff too. I love it.
Jasminka would also like to thank her sponsors and all her teammates for being there for her.
Thank you so much for reading and please follow Jas_Cive and @jackjohnbrown on Twitter.
And follow Jasminka on Facebook, and check Facebook for links to all of Jack’s past interviews and blogs.
Thank you to @KirikJenness for @theUG.
Previous interviews on the UG:
Phil Baroni, Bruce Buffer, Daron Cruickshank, Marcus Davis, Mike DolceDiet, Dan Hardy, Ed Herman, Bec Hyatt, Julie Kedzie, Dany Lauzon, Joe Lauzon, Tom Lawlor, Chris Leben, Matt Lindland, War Machine, Javier Mendez, Rose Namajunas, Vanessa Porto, Joe Proctor, Bobby Razak, Bas Rutten, Tarec Saffiedine, Jimmy Smith, James Thompson.