ABU DHABI – Katlyn Chookagian thinks her words about retirement have been misconstrued, and the women’s flyweight contender attempted to set the record straight before UFC on ESPN+ 38.
Chookagian (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who meets former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (20-8 MMA, 11-6 UFC) in Saturday’s co-headliner at Flash Forum at Yas Island and streams on ESPN+, has openly talked about her career timeline for the past few fights.
The passion is still there for Chookagian, she’s said, but the idea of starting a family has become more and more prevalent in her mind of late. She recently told ESPN she’d considered walking away after her latest win in May, and at this point any fight could be her last.
That doesn’t mean this one will be, though. Chookagian said it’s important to be truthful about where she stands, and she clarified her feelings going into a big fight at UFC on ESPN+ 38.
“It’s OK to say that you’re focused on your life outside of fighting,” Chookagian told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN+ 38 media day. “I think it’s a problem if you’re not focused on it because a majority of your life is not fighting. So I think that me saying how I feel, that I’m not at a point in my life where I can see myself having a family and it’s kind of a factor I need to have into fighting – I’m a female; unfortunately, my husband can’t have the baby for me. For me personally, once I have children, I don’t want to keep fighting.
“So just being honest and saying I want to do that, I think some people take it as, ‘She’s not focused. She’s already out of it.’ I said I’m taking it one fight at a time, meaning I’m just focusing on this fight, and we’ll see. I didn’t say it was my last fight. I’m taking it one fight at a time.”
Chookagian has been a top contender in the women’s flyweight division since its inception. She’s already had a chance to fight for the title and lost to champ Valentina Shevchenko, who dominated their fight at UFC 247 in February. Getting another title shot before she pulls the plug on her competitive career would be nice, but Chookagian reiterated she’s taking her career with a fight-by-fight approach.
Beating an elite name like Andrade would only help her cause, and Chookagian said she likes the matchup.
“I think at strawweight, she’s able to bully girls around – and that’s kind of her advantage when she’s able to bully them around and kind of use her size to her advantage,” Chookagian said. “She didn’t do that too much in bantamweight, and the girls she’s lost to were either bigger and taller or rangier strikers. So I’m definitely bigger, I’m definitely taller. I think I’m like eight inches taller than her. It’s the same as if I fought Jon Jones.”