‘Female fighters shouldn’t be stereotyped – I’m always in a dress and heels’
Dakota Ditcheva is one of UK MMA's brightest prospects having been a three-time Muay Thai world champion before signing for PFL – and she wants to be a role model for young girls.
The 24-year-old from Greater Manchester wants not only to follow in the footsteps of her trail-blazing mum but also be an inspiration for youngsters who might not see fighting as a career.
Ditcheva recently shared an Instagram post comparing her life inside and outside of the gym – showing that fighters can be just as glamorous as they are fearsome.
READ MORE: Meet undefeated prospect Dakota Ditcheva – who has kickboxing champion mum
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport , Ditcheva said: "We get stereotyped that we have to be these tough girls but outside of the gym I'm always in a dress and heels. It's important that I show that side.
"I want to be an inspiration for young girls who like to dress up, they don't think you can go into a sport like that when really you can."
Her Instagram post included the caption: "Same same but different." Bringing in thousands of likes from fans and fellow fighters.
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The 10 snaps included some from fights and training as well as nights out, with the Manchester City fan splitting time between the UK and US.
Having tried to find a path outside of fighting as a youngster, she returned to the gym with a new passion for the sport with fighting in her blood.
Ditcheva was around the gym in her early years thanks to her mother Lisa Howarth, who was a trail blazer for female fighters in becoming a kickboxing world champion.
With Ditcheva following the success of her mother in Muay Thai, being named the Pride of Sports Young Sportsperson of the Year back in 2016, she now has her eyes on MMA glory.
Signing with PFL last year before winning her first two showcase bouts with first-round finishes, Ditcheva is now headlining PFL Europe with eyes on qualifying for their World Championship campaign in 2024 – with $1million on the line.
She added: "PFL is the stage that I've always wanted to be on, have always been working to be fighting on. Being based in America but also being able to fight in Europe.
"I love fighting with a home crowd so it's the best of both worlds. Hitting the top stage and then being part of the Europe expansion and being able to fight closer to home for everyone to come and see."
PFL Europe has been described as the beginning of the Champions League of MMA by PFL CEO Peter Murray, with Dakota taking on Clara Ricignuolo in what could be the toughest bout of her career so far in March.
Tickets to watch Dakota at PFL Europe in Newcastle on March 25 can be purchased here.
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