Earlier this year, top swimsuit model Mia Kang reached the pinnacle of her profession when she appeared in the pages of Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue. A few months later, she's already ready for another challenge and it's the bloody business of cage fighting, she recently told MMA Fighting.
This is not a decision made on the whim. The Hong Kong native has been training in Muay Thai for years and recently took on her first fight. She won by TKO in the third round, according to her own Instagram.
Kang's interest in fighting was sparked by the frustration of grinding out a living as a model.
“I just wanted to go to Thailand and be in the sun,” Kang told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Muay Thai and living in a training camp and going through all that, it taught me to respect my body. It brought me out of everything I was going through.
"Even basic things like eating three meals a day — I learned how to do that. I found strength in my body that I never knew I had. I saw things in my body … I had a six pack at one point — never in my life did I think I was gonna have a six pack. It really gave me my self confidence and really helped me get rid of a lot of insecurities that were weighing me down my whole life.”
Asked if she has interest in MMA, Kang said, "Yes, absolutely."
But first she's making sure that she's ready for the challenge. That means training in wrestling, striking and jiu-jitsu.
Kang's newfound passion for fighting isn't going to end her modeling career. Instead, it's only making her more confident when she's in front of the camera.
"I found health, confidence, happiness through this sport, through everything. This is who I am. This is the kind of woman we need in our magazines. This is the kind of role model we need for our kids," she said.