Meet Renata Poa, New Zealand's only heavyweight professional female MMA fighter

MMA or mixed martial arts is becoming increasingly popular in Aotearoa, with more people getting involved in the sport.

Despite its brutal nature, it's not just for the boys. Renata Poa started 'dancing' in the cage a few years ago and she hasn't looked back - she's now preparing for her first pro fight against Brazilian Ellen Rosa in Poland this weekend.

Renata, or 'Razz' as she's known, has been training like a madwoman to prepare for this fight. Based in Whangarei, she even travels to Auckland twice a week to get extra training from Mark Hunt's ground coach, Steve Oliver.

Steve thinks Renata has the potential to go far.

"I've done quite a bit of work with Mark Hunt over the years and she's got a similar game plan as his, just get busy with their hands and don't get put down and when they come in and approach, she just makes them pay on the way in. It's pretty simple game plan but it's working quite well."

Going on the attack didn't come easy to Renata, she says, it took her a couple of years to punch back during sparring but that's all changed now.

"There is so many things involved in training being mixed martial arts, ground work, stand up, fitness, strength and that's what I like about it, the challenge. There's always going to be someone better than you and I acknowledge that and I know that and I'm prepared for that - it's that slight fear that makes me want to keep doing it".

Renata goes head to head with Ellen Rosa this weekend.

The Hui