Taylor Starling is having fun again.
She toes the line at BKFC 43 on Friday in Omaha, NE for the first time since her first-round stoppage defeat at the hands of Christine “Misfit” Ferea at BKFC 28 in August.
After nearly nine months away from the Squared Circle, Friday night can’t come soon enough.
“I’m so excited. After my last fight, this is just such a huge deal to me,” Starling says with a big smile.
“Somewhere along the way I lost my love for fighting when I was training for Christine, and it turned into a job that I didn’t enjoy.”
The constant shifting of potential dates and opponents in the leadup to the Ferea showdown forced Starling to be in a never-ending fight camp. All the stress and anxiety of preparing for a bout, with none of the exhilarating payout under the bright lights.
“I ended up burning myself out because I didn’t want to take any time in between to stop and relax,” Starling says.
“I just kept pushing my emotions down and, by the time I fought Christine, I was just so completely burned out on everything.”
The remedy was simple.
“I took time off. I finally took a real break to reset, and it gave me the opportunity to miss fighting,” Starling says.
“When I was in the gym, it was because I wanted to be there, not because I had to be there because of my job. I hit the pause button, I took the time to regroup, and it really helped me out.”
On Friday, Starling takes on top Canadian prospect Jade Masson-Wong (1-1, 1 KO). As much as Starling’s supporters might like to see a quick finish, that’s not exactly what she’s gunning for.
“I’d love a knockout, I’d love a finish – but more so I want a five-round bloody war to show people that I’m still here,” Starling says.
“I’ll go all five rounds, I don’t care what happens to my body. I want it to be the most beautiful display of violence, and I want to give the fans what they want.”