I’m writing this blog post mostly because no one else has.
When I see a story that needs to be shared, my mind literally won’t rest until it has unloaded the good stuff, the truth, the missed amazing and inspiring story that everyone sort of knows or thinks they know, but really has no idea about.
If you know me, you know I’m a follower of Christ and that I believe what we do while we’re on this planet matters. We each have a story and we’re writing it each day with our choices and our actions. I believe our stories are one part of God’s grand story.
This is one of those stories and I’m sharing it with you, because I think the world needs to know more… more of the details, more of what people miss when they tell it. I’m posting this because I think you need to know just how awesome and truly inspiring my soon to be sister-in-law really is. I believe her story can play a role in changing someone’s life, in helping someone see that they really can live their dreams if they’re willing to put in the work, ignore the haters and push through the hard stuff. I believe her story can help so many people wake up and stop making excuses for all the reasons they can’t succeed at their goals and dreams.
Call it biased if you want, but I’m not one to sugar coat. I’ve had a front row seat to her story for the last 4 years… to all of it… the good, the bad, the ugly, the hard work, the dedication, the tenacity, the highs, the lows, the weight cuts, the banana pudding, the trying, the fun and everything in-between. I mean, I literally was in the room when she gave birth to Odin (her incredible little dude and my sweet nephew) almost 1 year ago. Side note: If you’ve ever been present for a birth you know it’s both a terrifying and beautiful experience all wrapped up into one event (honestly, I can’t believe I did that three times myself… go me & go every women out there raising tiny humans and thank you, Hannah for allowing me to witness the miracle of birth from a different angle)! While, no person will ever fully grasp or understand all that she’s sacrificed to be who she is today, I’ve been a close spectator to her personal developing story. I have watched her grow and learn and love and humble herself to become the best at what she does (in every area of her life) and I am inspired.
So who is Hannah Goldy anyway?
The following paragraphs are some of the deets of her youth and how she became a fighter. I’ll be honest, even I didn’t know some of this until I asked her and she’s fam, so you may not know either…
Hannah Goldy is a 26 year old professional fighter living in Orlando, FL with her fiancé, Alex Nicholson (a UFC Veteran currently fighting with The PFL and also my brother), Odin (their 11 month old son), Jax and Cleo (their 2 dogs) and Samson (their crazy cat).
She was born in Boston and raised in Vermont by her sweet Mama. Hannah has 1 sister and 4 brothers and is 4th in line in sibling order.
In high school she ran cross-country and track. (I had no idea, although it makes total sense now because once we ran a 5k together and I’m pretty sure she was the top finishing female while I was all like… why are there hills in this race bahahaha!) In all seriousness though it was during her time on the track that she learned a few things about mental toughness. While telling me about this season of her life she said one thing she remembers clearly was her track coach, Dave Curtis always saying, “The longest/hardest part of any race will always be the 7 inches between your ears.” A true statement for runners and little did she know at this time in her life… for MMA fighters too.
Hannah graduated high school at 17 and immediately began traveling. She found herself in California, New Zealand and New York City before settling in Clearwater, Florida. It was in New York City that she took her first cardio kickboxing class and became hooked on the sport. Once Hannah moved to Clearwater she immediately began training at a UFC Gym there. After training for only a month (um yeah she was ready to punch a sista in the face), Hannah took her first amateur boxing match where the corner man opposite hers was a young, up and coming fighter named Alex. Hannah went on to win that match and Alex later went on to win her heart. In fact, it was around this time almost 4 years ago that he brought her home to meet my hubs, my kiddos and me (thank you Facebook for the memories).
Hannah and Alex lived and trained in Clearwater for a year and a half before an injury sustained during training brought them to Orlando. We were talking about this time in their lives the other day and as she was describing it, I remember just how crazy life was for them back then. Most people don’t understand the commitment she and Alex have made over the years, the sacrifices financially, mentally, socially and physically they have made to get to the place they are today. During this time, Alex won one of the biggest fights in his career, gaining him notoriety and a contract with the UFC. He also walked away from that fight with a broken jaw which required surgery and ended up with his mouth wired shut for 8 weeks. Shortly after that, Hannah found herself in a similar situation. She was doing well, working hard and unexpectedly found her self injured too. When fighters are injured during training there are so many questions running through their minds and choices to be made quickly. Will this heal on it’s own? Should I fight injured? Can I even afford an x-ray? For Hannah, the choice was clear, due to the nature of the injury, surgery was inevitable and there would be no fighting for her in the months ahead. The two were in this together though, two fighters with dreams, supporting each other and experiencing the highs and the lows along the way.
Hannah went on to have 9 amateur fights and after having much success became a professional on March 11, 2016.
As a pro she’s 2-0 with one of those wins against current UFC fighter, Gillian Robertson. While 2 bouts in 2 years isn’t the norm for most fighters, it’s not been easy to find her opponents, just talk to any promoter. No one wants to fight the Queen of Sparta and for good reason. Hannah also spent most of 2017 growing a tiny human, taking her off the fight scene for almost a year, but this is really one of my favorite parts of Hannah’s story.
Let me say this first though before I get into the really good parts, being in the public eye isn’t easy. The second your name has a blue checkmark next to it on instagram and twitter you have a target on your back. The media isn’t quick to share the good stuff and please remember there are always two sides to every story. There are keyboard warriors around every corner and people ready to tear you down based off of false reports, misinformation, assumptions and just plain hate. Turns out Taylor Swift had it right, “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate hate,” and out there in the world of mma fans and news and comments and trolls some people sure know how to take their hate next level. Can I just say right now, you cannot believe everything you read UNLESS you’re getting your information directly from the source. Nothing has come easy for Hannah and Alex. Everything they have together they have because they have decided no amount of bad press, judgment, hate, untrue rumors or nasty posts were going to stop them from living their dreams and making a beautiful life together. There were bad moments and hard days, but for Hannah those were all part of her journey to becoming the women she is today. Her circle of supporters and people that love her unconditionally are unmatched. Her team and her coaches including her soon to be father-in-law also my daddy, Mark Nicholson, are world class. He knows a warrior when he sees one and from day 1, he knew she was the real deal.
Hannah handled her pregnancy like a champ. She trained as any professional athlete does right up until the day Odin was born. (Of course, under the care of her doctor… and if you don’t know why I added that, you don’t know the Internet.) I highly recommend you follow her on instagram here and go back through her videos to see how she carried on her training throughout pregnancy. Funny side story: Hannah always invites me to take class with her and I took it upon myself to say yes when she was 9 months pregnant because well… I could maybe keep up since I wasn’t 9 months pregnant or pregnant at all for that matter. By the end of class, you know, when it’s about time to do core work, everyone including myself was face to the mat dreading life pretending like the instructor wasn’t yelling at us to plank, but not Hannah she was up planking like the champ she is, pregnant belly down, arms locked, and no complaints coming from her (other than maybe the fact that she was still pregnant, ha).
Throughout her pregnancy, she also continued to travel and corner Alex, even traveling internationally just a few weeks before she went into labor (also, under the care of a doctor, for those of you wondering… and I know you are wondering).
Before Odin was born Hannah set a goal. She wanted to fight when Odin was 6 months old and as you can see, she never lost site of that goal.
On June 27, a sweet baby boy entered the world forever changing Hannah’s world. She now more than ever had a reason to do what she did. It all became for him.
Guys, I’ve watched a lot of people become a mama but I have never witnessed anyone fall into motherhood with as much grace as she did.
Hannah is completely committed to her family and yet also able to balance everything else in her life, beautifully. Can I just tell you all that almost a year later she’s still breastfeeding?! I know that some of you out there might be thinking that’s TMI, well no it isn’t, it’s amazing and incredible and you needed to know. I mean seriously, over the course of the last 11 months she birthed a human, got right back to training, traveled with Odin to corner Alex in 6 fights all over the United States, fought and won her second professional fight when Odin was just 7 months old and will now be stepping back into the ring this week just 8 days shy of her son’s first birthday.
I would also be robbing her story if I didn’t mention the attention she has put into bettering the person she is on the inside while improving the person she is in the ring. I’m a pastor’s wife. I see life change a lot, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone recognize their need for God, humble themselves and begin their life long walk with the Lord quite like Hannah did. Honestly, it was just such a “real” journey. She had questions, she found answers and she chose to begin a personal relationship with God. Let’s be clear here too… no one is claiming perfection, as no Christian should, she has simply recognized that it all comes from God and isn’t afraid to tell the world that. She’d be the first one to tell you that God has played a huge part in the direction in which her life has gone, that His plans are better and that once you realize it, your life will never be the same. Her baptism was one of the most special I’ve ever been present for… maybe because I prayed for it, maybe because she’s family, but I truly believe part of it was because it was such a natural and beautiful process. Just like motherhood, she entered into a relationship with Christ so gracefully.
People ask her all the time how she manages to do it all and she always tell them if you put your mind to it, you could do it too. It’s all about what you’re committed to. There’s a video on her instagram from back in February of her at cross fit training with Odin strapped to her back and the photo is captioned, “You’ll find a way or you’ll find an excuse,” and isn’t that the truth? After Odin’s birth she had every right to say, “I’m done, I’m a mom now or I just had a baby,” but instead she took the excuses she could’ve used and turned them into a reason not to quit and boiiiiiii, did she ever not quit.
I asked her yesterday what the hardest part about being a mom and a professional athlete is. She said, “the time she puts into training could be time spent with Odin,” but she also said, “that’s what motivates me to make that time count.”
Hannah, you inspire me.
Your story isn’t over and there will still be ups and downs and highs and lows, but I know that nothing is going to get in the way of you living your best life. No matter where your career takes you or should I say, where you take your career, just know how proud of you I am and how inspiring you are and have been to so many along the way.
Win or lose you know I’m always in your corner.
I’ll always be the one waiting with the banana pudding.