Wendy McKenna. Photo Credit: Adam Bright

In just her second professional mixed martial arts bout, Wendy McKenna will travel to Dublin, Ireland to face Cage Warriors veteran Catherine Costigan, in a challenge McKenna admits she could not have dreamed of at such an early part of her career.

McKenna (1-0) and Costigan (5-2) will feature on the main card of Cage Warriors 81, Saturday, March 4, which marks the promotion’s first visit to Ireland since August, 2014.

The former two-weight British Challenge MMA flyweight and strawweight amateur champion made a successful start to her career as a pro in December, 2016, beating Ella Wu.

McKenna on the dream opportunity to fight at the 3Arena in her second pro fight

Ahead of her CW debut, BKK Fighters’ McKenna told MMA Plus about the importance of her next fight, as she prepares to compete inside the glorious 3Arena, a venue of rapidly growing significance for Irish MMA.

“This is a great opportunity for me, something I would [not have] dreamed of at such an early stage in my career,” said McKenna ahead of CW 81. “An opportunity that is too good to miss and as long as I put on my best performance, could set me up for even bigger things.”

CW 81 will see Costigan return to competitive action for the first time since September, 2015, where she lost to Celine Haga. The setting for that fight? The 3Arena in Dublin, again showing the continuing historical importance of the location.

Respectful of “The Alpha Female” and crediting her for taking time out to rebuild herself both mentally and physically, McKenna feels that Costigan’s return to form will make for an excellent match in front of the Irish faithful.

“I feel I will be facing a new and improved Catherine at Cage Warriors 81. She has taken her two losses like a true warrior and taken the time off to heal and improve. This can only mean an even more exciting fight for the fans.

“Catherine has had a long break due to injuries. she would have had plenty of time to concentrate on getting well again then evaluate her next move. I feel it would of been her number one priority to make sure she is mentally and physically strong enough to get back in the cage.”

McKenna has been perfecting her craft as a mixed martial artist since 2014, when she began competing as an amateur. Since then, McKenna has experienced international amateur competition under the IMMAF banner and claimed two significant regional titles in the south of England.

Wendy spoke about the importance of her amateur career, telling MMA Plus: “I think it is really important to take your time as an amateur. It’s that time you learn, grow and perfect your game. I took that time to find myself as a fighter. Fighting in three different weight category’s, holding the BCMMA title in two of them and participating in the IMMAF European Championships, these were all great opportunities for me to learn and improve as a fighter, which has got me to where I am today.”

McKenna talks special relationship with daughter Cory

Wendy McKenna with daughter Cory (right). Photo Credit: Adam Bright

In the corner of the 36-year-old on Saturday night will be her daughter, Cory McKenna, 17, who is also a budding amateur athlete. As the Colchester native approaches her toughest test to date, she affirmed the relationship with daughter Cory as a major element of her preparation.

“It’s fantastic been able to not only share this experience with her but to watch her grow into an amazing athlete. We train together a lot of the time and she really pushes me to my limits. Cory will no doubt make a big name for herself in the future as she is still young.

“There is always a little bit of friendly competition,” she laughed. “But when it comes down to it we both want to push each other to be the best we both can be, Cory has a different still than me and is an amazing coach as well a fighter which is why she will be in my corner again for this fight.”

A confident McKenna is ridden of nerves as CW 81 approaches, admitting that she is looking to bask in a moment of reality, which at one point, was nothing more than a fantasy.

“For me nerves really aren’t an issue,” said McKenna. “I am doing what I love and to have the opportunity to do it on a big stage only makes it more exciting.  This is something I have always set my sights on so [it] is a bit of a dream come true.”