Some athletes are hungry for a fight - after six months in training camp, Illawarra mixed martial artist Amena Hadaya is starving for one.
The 23-year old nurse hones her skills in the ring twice a day, Monday through Saturday, around a full work schedule.
She's dropped six kilos to make her weight division - and kept it off.
But opponent after opponent kept pulling out.
"Everyone in the gym is pushing you hard in the build up to a fight," she said.
"As well as training, there's meal prep, counting your calories and macros. I missed my birthday, you make so many small sacrifices.
"You work so hard for that moment and then it's thrown back at you - there's no match ups, or there's no girls. It's a real up and down."
Undeterred, Hadaya remained fight-ready - and it looks like her patience has been rewarded, with a match set for two week's time.
She'll face off with Faine Pereira from Igor MMA, who is making her MMA debut, in Punchbowl on Saturday July 3, in an amateur women's flyweight bout on the Urban Fight Night 26 card.
Hadaya, who is undefeated in boxing and 1-1 in MMA, relishes the prospect of getting back in the cage.
"There's nothing like the feeling of having your hand raised after a fight - nothing," she said.
One thing that might come close is the family-size cake she's ordered from Flex and Flour in Wollongong to celebrate afterwards.
"I buy it every year for my birthday and my boyfriend's birthday," she said.
"I thought it was justified for me to order a cake that feeds ten rather than one just for me. I've dreamed about it for six months, I'm very excited - I literally manifest it in my brain.
"I think it'll last me about two days."
After she polishes off her post-fight snack, Hadaya has set her sights on pursuing competitive MMA at the highest level possible.
The petite brawler first stepped on the mats aged eight. She was hooked.
"I liked that I was doing something different, I liked working out a bit of stress and feeling strong and independent," she said.
"I loved knowing I could rely on myself, knowing I didn't need anyone standing behind me to take care of me, because I had that power."
Other than time off for injuries, including a knee reconstruction, she's been training ever since.
She had her first boxing match at 19, and went undefeated for five matches before transitioning to MMA, where she has one win and one loss so far.
"After my first match, it was just, screw everything else, I'll keep fighting and I'll get somewhere with it," she said.
"I love the thrill of it, I love coming in and training every day. I'd love to make it to the UFC.
"If I didn't have to work a day and just train for the rest of my life and eat good food I'd be stoked."
Hadaya coaches children's classes at her gym, Full Circle MMA in Fairy Meadow, and is acutely aware she's not just fighting for herself.
"I know a lot of the young girls I train, they look up to you," she said.
"Being that girl in the gym, pushing yourself in that way, people message saying 'do it for the girls' and things like that, it gives you that drive."
Hadaya predominantly trains at Full Circle MMA, and said the team there was boundlessly supportive.
"It's a good team, they push you and yell at you, but it's not in a negative way," she said.
"Everyone wants to chip in and asks how I am and how I'm feeling - and they know when I'm hungry not to ask me too many questions."
She understands why women might be reluctant to take up a combat sport, but said she experienced nothing but encouragement from her coach, Russ Thompson, and teammates.
"There's not a massive pool of women in Australia and NSW and it would be great to have more girls in the sport," she said.
"You don't have to sit behind a wall and not do what you want to do - try new things. I did, and now I'm doing it forever, I love it."
Hadaya has also been polishing her skills on the ground at Garage Jiu-Jitsu in Bellambi.
"The coach at Garage, Ryan Walsh, and the whole team there has been a great help to make me feel more confident on the ground," she said.
"I feel much stronger than I did when I first started, and I love jiu-jitsu now!
"I have to thank Lenna at Alternative Fitness, Fightworks Gym and Freestyle MMA too."
She's also got the support of her family, including her twin brother, who was her original fight dummy.
Her mum does have some white-knuckle moments, however.
"My whole family supports me - mum doesn't like it, she worries, but only beforehand," Hadaya said.
"When I'm fighting she knows I can take care of myself."
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