The time finally has come for women in Mixed Martial Arts.
With fighters such as Gina Caranoand Cris Cyborg paving the way in a male-dominated sport, the UFC crowned its first women's bantamweight champion in Ronda Rousey just last weekend.
Extreme Caged Rentals follows suit this weekend, with Monmouth's Jenna Fox fighting for the local organization's first women's bantamweight title at Caged Aggression IX: Return of the Champions.
The two-day event takes place Friday and Saturday at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island.
Fox (9-0) fights Saturday against Kim Woods (3-0). Tickets are available at cagetix.com or call563-676-8700 for more information.
"It's exciting that the door is open now, and that's something to look forward to in the future," Fox said. "But I take it one fight at a time. It's very cool to see women breaking down barriers now, though."
Ironically, Fox never intended to get into the ring in the first place.
She participated in volleyball and track at United High School and only stumbled into an MMA gym just before graduation looking for an intense workout.
"But the more I did it," Fox said, "the more I wanted to compete in the cage to see if that was something I could handle."
As a member of Central Illinois Combat Club, Fox has shown she belongs, rolling up a perfect record.
"I feel like I have improved a lot over the past few months," Fox said. "I want people to realize that I'm talented and I work hard and don't give up. They are going to see big things from me in the future."
But as any fighter knows, the next bout is only half the battle.
Some say MMA training is sometimes more challenging than theactual bout.
Nutrition also is one of the key elements to winning that fight, and in October, Fox made some drastic changes to her diet as she went on the Paleo Diet.
"I avoid grains and dairy andanything that would cause allergic reactions," explained Fox. "My body has responded very well tothat."
Now, as the sport grows and more girls and women go to join gyms and look into MMA, Fox has a message for them.
"Don't be too nervous," Fox said. "As long as you go to the right gyms, people will teach you things, and the training will get more intense as you learn to handle that."
So far, the experience has worked out perfectly for Fox.
Today is Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Charles M. Osborn of this city, a lawyer of prominence, who voted for Lincoln in 1860 is now out strong for McClellan and will take the stump for him. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965. 1989 -- 25 years ago: A Rock Island woman is one of 50 winners of $10,000 in cash in the Illinois State Lottery's "Celebration "89" instant ticket game. Dawn Loeffler was the third winner to be chosen through daily drawings that began Aug. 28 and will run 50 consecutive days.