Deney Hayward from Shuriken on the North Shore will take on Kate Aroa for the ICNZ woman’s title on September 25th in her first Pro MMA fight debut. Deney is coming off a win over Tash Chambers on ICNZ and Kate off a win over Angela Parr in Australia during the Elite Fight Night
Girls of MMA interviewed Deney about her daily Grind and the upcoming fight.
GIRLS OF MMA- Hi Deney, How are you feeling today?
Hi there, I’m great thank you. Finished training for the morning and just relaxing at the moment.
GIRLS OF MMA – Tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where are you from originally? And how long have you been training in MMA?
Well, Im 25 years old and originally from a town in the Bay of Plenty called Rotorua. Where I grew up in my track pants and gum boots, running around in the forest playing battle stations with my younger brother. I moved to Dunedin when I was 18 to go to University, which were the four wildest years of my life! After that I moved up to Auckland to continue my studies and have been here ever since. I have currently been training in MMA for just under 1 year.
GIRLS OF MMA – Do you have a scheduled fight coming up soon you want to tell the fans out there?
I do! It’s on the 25th of September and it is for the ICNZ female middle weight title. This will be my fist pro fight and I’m really looking forward to it!!! I’ve had a bit of a rough lead up with sicknesses and injury but I’m feeling 110% now and ready to go!
GIRLS OF MMA- Speak about what your training consists of on a day to day basis.
I do cardio Monday and Wednesday morning with Strength and conditioning in the afternoon. I have MMA Tuesday, Thurday (morning and night) and Saturday morning and on Sunday I do BJJ. Friday is rest day!! Yusss!! My days get shifted round a bit depending on when my coaches are available but that’s the general day to day training routine.
GIRLS OF MMA- What is your athletic background?
When I was 6 years old I started athletics and did that until I was 16. I mainly did 400m, 200m, 100m, hurdles and long jump. I started Judo when I was 8/9 years old and from the 1st class I did I was hooked. I first represented NZ when I was 15 years old at the Oceania Judo Champs. I then started doing some tours in Europe when I was 16 and 17. But in 2002 when I was training for the Junior World Champs I tore my ACL and that put Judo on the back burner for a while. I did a couple more Oceania champs in the next couple of years but my knee gave me a lot of trouble and it didn’t help I was at Uni by then and so Judo gradually started taking back seat to everything else I was involved in. Those two were my main sports when I was growing up. Other than that, I played rugby, touch rugby, soccer and netball.
GIRLS OF MMA- What brought you to the sport of MMA?
Judo was very off and on for me, I still loved it but I started losing my passion for it. I’m a very competitive person so I rarely like doing sport just for fun and the social interaction. Once I started losing interest in competing in Judo I started looking for other things to do. I was actually just going to start kickboxing and asked around for the best clubs, when one of my good friends from Judo said that he was starting MMA at the new club just up the road from us called Shuriken. I didn’t really know much about MMA and hadn’t even heard of UFC. All I knew was it was sometimes called cage fighting. I went to my first couple of classes and was completely hooked. I had my first little in-house fight and then had an amateur B-class fight, which was my first time in the ring and the feeling was amazing and that’s when I knew this was what I wanted to do.
GIRLS OF MMA – Tell us about your goals for yourself in the sport of MMA.
I want to go as far as possible with MMA. There are some real opportunities opening up for female fighters and I want to be right in the mix of it. It really has become a dream of mine to be one of the best female fighters out there. It’s going to take a lot of sacrifice, commitment and dedication but when you really love something it’s all worth it.
GIRLS OF MMA – When you aren’t training, what keeps you busy? Tell us about your professional and educational endeavors, as well as what you do for fun!
When I’m not training, I’m a little bit of a nerd. I like reading and just listening to music or watching my favourite movies over and over again. My little secret love is cartoons! I’m like a goldfish in front of the TV! In the winter, I love going down to the mountain snowboarding and in the summer, hanging out at the beach working on my tan and surfing. I used to love to go out and party with my friends but I just don’t have the energy by that time of night anymore and just want to sleep!
At the moment for work I’m walking dogs, which is soooo much fun! Well most of the time, unless they decide to play up, then, not so fun. But it works out really well with training, so I’m quite lucky in that respect. I know that other fighters have to hold down full time jobs and then train as much if not more than me, and I take my hat off to them, I still find it hard enough as it is.
My tertiary education started when I went to Otago University and studied a Bachelor of Physical Education. After that I moved to Auckland and did a Post graduate diploma in Exercise Rehabilitation, I still didn’t know what I was going to do so I went back the next year and did a Masters of Health Science in General Practice. So after 7 and half years of Uni I am walking dogs for a living! How about that! But fighting is my focus at the moment, so I’m not too concerned, at least I have something to fall back on later in life.
Thanks for spending the time to talk to us and we wish you luck with your upcoming fight, as well as reaching your goals.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add? Would you like to give any shout outs to any sponsors/coaches?
I would love to give a MASSIVE shout out to my two main coaches Strini Naidoo and Jason Vorster for all the hard work and endless hours they have put into training me! My training partners Ruth and Sammy! My boxing coach Simon and my partner Lance for putting up with me when I’m exhausted and shitty after training but always being there for me no matter what. And of course, my family and friends for all their support.
Also a big shout out to you guys at Girls of MMA for giving me this opportunity and putting my name out there