Exclusive Interview with Invicta FC Fighter Gina "Jellybean" Begley
|Image Courtesy of Gina Begley|
A flyweight who fights at bantamweight; with a welcoming personality and packing a punch to match. Invicta's Gina "Jellybean" Begley is dominantly a presence that one would love to both call a friend, and also be reluctant to enter the cage with. Ready to stand and bang or take it to the ground, Gina is a force to be reckoned with. In this interview, we dig a little deeper into the world of Jellybean Begley to learn more about her where she comes from and what's up next for her!
How did you get into the sport?
I first began training in Muay Thai kickboxing for fitness and weight loss. I enrolled my son in the same gym but for the youth jiu-jitsu program. I began jiu-jitsu so I could help him practice and understand what he was learning. About 6 months later I decided to enter us both in a jiu-jitsu tournament to see if we could use the skills we were learning under pressure. It has just progressed from that point. Next, was a muay thai fight, and that led into MMA.
How did you get the nickname “Jellybean”?
Well, people that know me would say I'm a colorful personality much like my favorite sweet treat, “Jelly Belly’s”.
|Image Courtesy of Invicta FC|
What’s your favorite strike/submission to utilize in any fight?
I enjoy throwing punches the most. It’s fun, I'm good at it and I enjoy boxing. It’s exciting. However, over the course of time, I've found I enjoy jiu-jitsu more than I expected too. With time leg locks have become one of my favorite aspects of the jiu-jitsu game.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My son is a huge inspiration for me. I want him to see what’s possible when you work hard. I want him to see how far I've come and desire to go even further.
Which team(s) are you training for to prepare for your next bout?
I currently do not have a fight scheduled. But I am always looking/hoping for an MMA or boxing fight. While I wait that out, I am still training and planning to enter local jiu-jitsu tournaments for the additional experience.
How do you train nutrition-wise to make weight? Is it easy or hard for you to maintain weight?
I am a flyweight who has fought a lot at bantamweight just to get a fight period. I have food sensitivity so monitoring my nutrition and eating properly is not difficult because it makes my body and joints feel good. However, I love food so when I do not have anything coming up, I do like to splurge. Nutrition and fitness are what I do so it is not hard for me to "diet". If I have a goal weight, I simply track my calories and macronutrients to make sure I get the energy I need from the right places.
Do you prefer to stand with your opponents or take them to the ground?
I would stand preferably. But no one wants to get hit so when we clinch I'm usually satisfied to go to the ground. I'm comfortable there.
What does it mean for you personally to be a fighter?
Personally, I learn something every time I fight. It’s not always something about punching, kicking, or grappling that I learn. Sometimes it is something about myself. I love the progression I make as an individual. I like being able to help other women that train with me understand their feelings when going into a competition. Being a fighter to me, means growth.
What separates you from other fighters in your division?
I'm very concerned with the experience and what I can learn and how I can grow from it. Maybe that is different because I am not solely focused on whether it’s a win or loss.
Do you have a dream fight? Who would it be with?
There is no one I'm just dying to fight. I've fought a lot of great people. I always feel prepared for the next challenge and enjoy what each opportunity brings to me.
At the end of your career, what would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as someone who helped others. I would like to take my experience and help build others whether it be for fighting, self-defense, or confidence building.
Do you have any advice for young women or youth who are seeking to enter the sport? Yes. Jiu Jitsu, MMA, or kickboxing does not only offer self-defense or fighting. You can learn a lot about yourself. You can learn a lot of great things. You can also meet a lot of amazing people if you are open to it. Always do your research on the gym you are considering.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would highly recommend you not only train for self-defense or sport, physically, but mentally as well. Read, research, and seek out information. I recommend "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker.
To learn more about Gina, follow her on Facebook or Twitter and watch for her upcoming Invicta fights.