Bellator MMA has acquired several big-name stars for their roster in the recent years. However, they’ve also grown plenty of their own… One of which could arguably be their biggest of them all.
29-year old Hawaiian sensation, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is the current reigning Bellator flyweight queen. Having been with the promotion since her second professional fight, ‘The Ilimanator’ has grown up before our very eyes and gone on to be the only champion of her division to this point.
For the entirety of Macfarlane’s combat sports career, she’s been flawless as she holds a 16-0 overall record across professional MMA (9-0), amateur MMA (5-0), and combat Jiu-Jitsu (2-0).
How champions deal with the pressure of being a champion is one thing. But being an undefeated champion is an entirely different thing. And for Macfarlane, she looks at it all from a very unique perspective.
“I actually think that I’m going to lose every fight,” Macfarlane said on MMA Junkie Radio. “Every fight I go into I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going to lose.’ But that’s just a mindset and strategy that I have. I think it keeps me grounded, it keeps me very realistic. We have seen those fighters who do truly believe they’re going to be undefeated and they end up crashing the hardest when it does happen. I think it’s what sets me apart from a lot of people is that… I’m not looking forward to the day that I lose, but I know that when that day does come it’s meant to happen and it’s how I respond to that loss that’s truly going to define what kind of fighter and what kind of person I am.”
At Bellator 220 on April 27, Macfarlane will look to retain her title for the third consecutive time when she takes on the always game Veta Arteaga in the night’s co-main event.
Drake Riggs is an MMA writer who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake also currently writes for BJPenn.com, Fansided MMA, Cageside Press, and is a former contributor to Sherdog and MMA Today. He is also a die-hard fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.