November 7th, 2014 Tuff N Uff and Invicta Fighting Championships are at it again. This time, promoting two 4-person Women's MMA tournaments in which the winner of each will be making the jump to the pros and signing a fight-deal with InvictaFC.
Janie Konyek is a 2-1-0 lightweight (155lb) amatuer fighter out of Premier Combat Center, NE. Janie hopes to secure her spot with Invicta by locking down this tournament and has no plans to stop fighting anytime soon. Janie is a military vet since the ripe age of 17 years old, and a well-rounded heavy-hitter to boot! Please see below for a deeper look on who Janie "The Gun Show" Konyek is!
Images provided courtesy of Dynasty and EDH Photography
(More information at bottom of Q&A
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what was life like growing up? (Family, school, friends)
I grew up all over the Midwest: born in Omaha, moved to Iowa when I was 5-6, moved to South Dakota when I was 10-11. Graduated from high school there. Lived with my mom my whole life, parents were divorced after I turned one.
I started getting involved in sports in about 4th grade by playing volleyball and having P.E. as my favorite ‘class’. I was always bigger than my classmates, until I moved to SoDak and all the guys hit puberty. I continued to play sports year round; volleyball, basketball, track, and golf.
I started watching the UFC every now and then and was really interested in it; always been very competitive. My dad passed away from unknown causes June 16th, 2005.
I joined the military in 2009 when I was 17 and deployed when I was 19 to Afghanistan. When I returned I moved back to Omaha because I really enjoy it here and my dad’s side of the family lives here.
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
Involved in volleyball, basketball, track, and golf all throughout high school and in the military since I was 17.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
Favorite memories would be staying up until probably 3 or 4 in the morning, gaming it up on the Play Station with my dad when I visited him.
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
My second and third toes are half webbed, from my moms side. My favorite post-weigh in food is citrus and peanut butter and baby food.
Getting involved in MMA:
How did you get involved?
I started out going to Title Boxing Club for just a work out. There, I met Grover Wiley and Brian Houston. I ended up getting hired and they became my coworkers. I picked up on boxing and kickboxing very fast, so I asked around about fighting or where I could train and "B-Hue" told me about Premier. I went there, talked to Kurt Podany and Ryan Jensen and ended up getting a membership there and working my ass off. After a few months of training, I asked and asked about fighting, so my gym got in contact with my manager, Train of DC, and I was set up with my first fight in December 2013.
What discipline did you begin with and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
I started with straight boxing with Grover. I’m chuckling about it just thinking about us working out. I guess I should say my battle Jesse Kimball, whom I deployed with, taught me basic Muay Thai while we were in Afghanistan. All we had were a couple of kick pads and hand wraps. He taught me foot work, the basic punches, how to wrap my hands, and how to kick. When I came back to the states and started at Title, that’s what I did: I just boxed/kickboxed with only hand wraps! HAHAHA. I then moved to getting some gel gloves and wrapped my hands, then I remember Grover coming to me in class one time and saying to me “You’re a little baby, you don’t wear gloves? What, you can’t hold 16 oz on your hands? You’re hurting yourself right now by not training with them”. So, I bought some cheap $20 title gloves and did work.
However, once I started actually training and learning about power and how my body works and how to use it, my gloves were torn up within 1-2 weeks.
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
I knew when I was at the gym, waiting for a class to start, and Jensen invited me into the team practice they were having. I felt honored; like I had earned it and that they had seen that I was ready to up my game.
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what went through your mind? How did your first fight turn out?
Well, I think I was the first one out so I ran around and the cage stayed open (sorry, I’m sarcastic as it’s hard to tell that just by reading this). Once it closed though, I just went into total focus mode. Just did what I knew how to do. My first fight I thought I lost; I was pretty beat up, and she wasn’t. I won split decision, because I was constantly working my ass off in the cage. And it showed.
What are 3 things you've learned while being involved in this sport?
There’s a whole other family you gain when you get involved. They’re there for you whenever you need it and give you the most support because they’ve been through what you’ve been through before.
You have to be an asshole. We’re not here to just spar once we get in the cage, you’re there to take what’s rightfully yours because you worked so hard for it.
Respect. Respect respect respect. If you don’t give it, you’re not going to get anything, and having that aspect helps with the mental game a lot.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
I'm fighting out of Premier Combat Center in Omaha, NE
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
I’m 2-1-0. First fight was at 148 and last two were at 155 (ammy)
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
Oh the nickname…s. My nickname I have is The Gun Show, given to me by Jake Kurtz from my second fight. He was doing commentary and the first words out of his mouth when we met in the middle was “look at the guns on her..”. However, my nickname has been added on to for the things I say/do. The full one, or close to it, is: Janie “The Tattooed-Pretty Hair-Strickely Dickely-Hangry-If You Don’t Know Me You Will-Gun Show” Konyek.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
More training time. I’m an ammy; I have school and work outside of fighting, and they’re all equally important to me. So When I go pro from winning this tournament, hopefully fighting and school will be my focuses.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
Losing my fight in RFA. I was doing school full time, 3 jobs, and trying to train all at once for that fight. As well as set up sponsorships for myself and handle t-shirts and everything. It sucked. I went into the fight and could have easily won, but I messed up and I let that get to me. I lost, and I’m mad about it, yes, but I learned a lot from it. A lot as in, I’m not going to lose again because it’s just not in my plan.
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
I’ve just learned a lot from all of my teammates and couldn’t ask for a better group of guys (and a couple chicks; Sara McLeod, Rebecca Wells, Lauren Barefoot, Melina Caniglia, Katalina Nixon).
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
Don’t give up. I had this guy in boxing for his first day. I kept calling off the combo because he wasn’t getting it, which makes sense since it was his first day, and once we finished the round, he dropped his gloves, said “I’m too stupid for this. I’m done”, and left. I was in shock. Any discipline you practice can constantly evolve and your talents will get better. You just have to stick with it and have a strong mind and heart for the sport. Don’t do it for the money.
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
Well shoot of course:
Premier Combat Center, Artificial Society, Disorderly Conduct Management, Skywalker 101, Podany 101, New Dawn Nutrition, Eagle Run Chiropractic, Visible Impact Fitness, Hookah 402, Nissan of Omaha, Caged Combat Wear, Kelley Healey Tattoo Artist, MMA Futures, Sports Food Inc, Dynasty Concrete, and Cagetix.com.
I want to also thank my family and friends for being so supportive of me getting into the sport, and to all of my fans/followers as well. A special thank you to people who have individually helped donate money for me to get to Vegas: Andy Hubbard, Lindsay Kluver, Mike Geigle, and SGT Morphew.
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
Obviously win the tourney and fight for Invicta by next year! I do want to fight for a while, I know and have been told I have a lot of talent. I’m not letting that go to waste.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
As far as females go, I think it’s awesome. There’s more and more people joining, and I feel as though I got into it at the right time. The sport as a whole has been great. I feel people are still getting use to watching people beat each other up in side of the cage, but it depends on how you look at it. The way I look at it and I hope people who don’t understand take this is, it’s a sport. We all train for whatever we train for to do our best, to BE our best. MMA is another sport, and we’re showing off what we know and have learned and our talents for the world to see how hard we work.
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
More female weight classes in the UFC.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself settled down with someone, starting a family, someplace very warm! Still fighting? By then I’ll be 32-33, so yes, as long as nothing terrible happens to my body in between that time.
You’re asking me this when I’ve been on no carbs for 2 weeks -_-. I’m polish, we have pierogies which are bomb.com. Like a dough with delicious homemade mashed potatoes and cheesiness inside. Otherwise I love all types of food, especially spicy dishes. And chocolate. (Cadbury Eggs are my kryptonite).
Favorite type of Music:
All kinds! Except country. I’ll listen to it every now and then, but it’s not my first.. or second… or 7th choice.
There’s too many so you’re getting multiple movies: Boondock Saints, both Tomb Raider’s, anything with Tom Hardy or Angelina Jolie, any movies directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Favorite TV Show:
American Horror Story, the News…
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”. – Marcus Aurelius
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?:
Pppfffftttt! Hahaha. My word no, not yet. But I have 4 nephews: Rome, Jack, Sam, and Kal. Ages 10 Months to 9 Years
Best day of your life:
Every day is my best day for I’m still alive and I can keep on living it up ;). I love life!
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself:
I’m a very open person so this is pretty hard. I chewed my nails for as long as I could remember, and about a month ago I just stopped.
Cooking, watching movies with friends, working out.
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
Don’t have a favorite super hero really, but I have a favorite villain, and that would be Bane… Mainly because it’s played by Tom Hardy.
Facebook Page/Fan Page: Janie Konyek
Manager Contact (for sponsorship/fight inquiries): Andy (Train) Lee
About the Photography
"My work in photography has led me to many different opportunies. Mixed martial arts has always fascinated me and when I got the chance to take over for a fellow photographer because of health issues, I knew I had to do my best as he did in his images. Capturing the intensity and flow of strikes and submissions is my favorite part of what I do. When I hear the great feedback from the fighters, I know that I've done their fight justice and that I'm making my dream come true in photographing these amazing fights."