The 19-year-old champion hailing from Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Demi-Lee van Zyl—is fast climbing the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) ladder. And now, the young competitor is preparing to take on some of the world’s best in Kazakhstan.
Discussing her journey into this popular sport, Demi-Lee smiles and says she joined the MMA scene around four years ago, never expecting to enjoy it. “I never did sports in school and I was roped into attending an MMA lesson with a friend, and after the class, I fell in love with the sport.” Further explaining there is more to mixed martial arts than just fighting—Demi-Lee states, it is not about inflicting pain but instead learning about yourself as an individual and growing. “You put yourself in a compromising position, learning how to get out of it and it is an amazing feeling coming out on top. It is also a release from everyday life’s frustrations.”
Continuing, she says this allows her to address challenges outside of the ring, never losing sight of her end goal, persevering through the good and the bad.
The South African Light-Weight Female Division Champion says her rigorous training regime includes five to six days a week of gym routines and sparring, continually expanding on her MMA, kick-boxing, and jiu-jitsu knowledge. While the hard lockdown in 2020 hampered her training, this did not prevent the young athlete from cracking the nod to participate in the IMMAF’s 2021 Senior and Junior World Championships, set to be held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, at Barys Arena.
Kicking off on 27 November 2021, the tournament will run to 4 December 2021 and will be hosted by the Kazakhstan National Public Union of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation.
As a South African MMA Team member competing against some of the world’s best fighters, Demi-Lee states that even though excited, she acknowledges, the tournament will push her and the other fighters to the limit, both physically and mentally. The competitors will be taking part in a series of bouts, where the winner of each fight will then move up and compete against another contender.
With the world’s elite of MMA taking part, competitors all have their eyes on winning as many bouts as possible, as their wins will not only reflect positively on their skills and career but will simultaneously increase their respective country’s global rankings. As a country still developing in the sport, this champion announces she is determined to show South Africa has much to brag about in terms of competitive MMA fighters. “I am hoping to win a fight and be able to go to the next round, as well as see our team come home with medals.”
Due to cost implications, the Newcastle fighter is inviting the business sector to support her. While the funding will see her reach new heights in the MMA world, she explains she will also be able to promote her sponsors at a national and international level. The young MMA athlete explains that her upcoming trip to Kazakhstan is thanks to her training and dedication to her sport, and collaboration with others. Training at TNS (Tap Nap or Snap) Academy, Demi-Lee elaborates, her coach Conrad Erasmus plays a pivotal role in her development through his undivided attention and expertise in the MMA world.
Concludinghile Demi-Lee explains there are certain misconceptions around fighters. “People think MMA enthusiasts are vicious people, but that is not the case at all. We are a close-knit community, who helps each other and are some of the nicest people I have ever met.”
Pixelfish Marketing and Newcastillian – Online News would like to congratulate Demi-Lee on being selected to compete at the upcoming MMAF’s 2021 Senior and Junior World Championships; good luck and smash it!
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