Exclusive: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane on her Dec. 21 fight at "Bellator 236" & more

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane at the 11th Annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane at the 11th Annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards

One of Bellator MMA's stand-out competitors, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is not only the inaugural and current Bellator Women's Flyweight World Champion, but also undefeated with a 10-0 record. Macfarlane is only 5 years into her MMA career and in her last fight, "The Ilimanator" defeated Veta Arteaga at Bellator 220.

Macfarlane's next fight will be taking place on December 21st at Bellator 236. She will be battling Kate Jackson in at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, headlining an evening which also includes fights featuring AJ McKee Jr., Juliana Velasquez, Neiman Gracie, Raufeon Stots and fellow Hawaii native Kai Kamaka III.

One night prior on December 20th, Bellator will be presenting its Salute The Troops extravaganza, which includes a main event match featuring Josh Barnett and Ronny Markes.

On December 10, 2019, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane by phone about her upcoming fight for Bellator 236, her plans for 2020 and more. The full conversation is embedded below, while part of the chat has been transcribed exclusively for Sportskeeda.

For more on Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, you can follow her via and on social media; the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast can be downloaded via iTunes and


On what music she trains to:

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane: The music is really important. There's certain songs and certain genres that put you in some type of mood and becomes routine. I definitely have a playlist that I listen to backstage before I come out to a fight and when I'm training.

For some reason, this camp, though, I was requesting David Lee Roth a lot. I was listening to his playlist a lot. Every camp there's a theme. One camp I was listening to Alanis Morissette, but this camp was David Lee Roth.

On her plans for 2020:

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane: I'm going on a Middle East tour after my fight, with the USO. I'm actually running a women's retreat for a nonprofit that I work with, I have a scholarship program through them. We're doing that in February. I'm a maid-of-honor for my best friend's wedding in February. I'm turning 30 in April... I always take a few months off [after a fight].

But in my career I believe I have one more fight left on my [Bellator] contract. So I think I'm going to keep my fight to the summertime. Then we'll see if Bellator wants to re-sign me.

On her last words for the kids:

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane: Don't post anything on social media that you wouldn't want your parents to see.

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Edited by Nishant Jayaram
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