SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - A female cage fighter from San Diego is getting ready for the biggest bout of her life this weekend in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Liz Carmouche is nicknamed Girl-rilla. She'll be competing for the women's bantamweight title during the main event of UFC 157 in Anaheim on Saturday night.
Carmouche, 28, is a former U.S. Marine who did three tours in Iraq as a helicopter electrician. Her military service is what brought her to San Diego.
"The Marine Corps had me stationed in Oceanside and I would come to San Diego on the weekends and I just fell in love with the area and I stayed," said Carmouche in an interview from her Mission Gorge gym.
Never before have female fighters been included in the UFC.
"I love it because it's challenging. If for any reason you settle, you're not going to grow as a fighter," Carmouche said.
Carmouche's opponent is the undefeated Ronda Rousey, 26, a fighter with a history of breaking the arms of her opponents with her signature "arm bar" move.
Carmouche has a record of 7 wins, 2 losses. Rousey is 6 and 0.
"I absolutely consider myself the underdog and I love it," said Carmouche. "I like that people doubt me. It makes me work that much harder to prove them wrong."
In a sport full of blood and violence, ironically, Carmouche says she can't stand to watch it on television.
"The moment that I see blood in a fight on television, I can't do it," she said. "So when I first started watching it, it was really difficult."
All that changes when she climbs into the ring.
"When I see somebody bleed in the actual moment, it doesn't bother me at all. If anything it has the opposite effect. I go for the kill switch and go after the person non-stop," Carmouche said.
Carmouche is part owner of the San Diego Combat Academy on Mission Gorge Rd. It's here where the Girl-rilla works her day job teaching kids mixed marital arts.
"I teach kids because I love kids," said Carmouche. "I love seeing that click when they learn something and it makes sense."
Carmouche is a strict instructor and the children soon learn the rules in her classroom.
"Most of the kids here have seen my bouts and they know that I don't fight outside of the gym," she said. "The only place I fight is in an actual competition."
The parents know Carmouche is a UFC contender and her students are looking forward to her title bout.
"I think she will win," said one young girl in Carmouche's class. "She's a really good trainer. She always trains all day. She toughs it out no matter what."
UFC 157 airs Saturday night at 7 p.m. on pay-per-view television.