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, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.