Josefine Knutsson has her fighting future all planned out.
The 27-year-old Allstars Training Center product has been surrounded by some of Sweden’s finest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters since getting involved with combat sports as a kickboxer in 2015. Starting out with the striking arts, time around the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Ilir Latifi, and Khamzat Chimaev helped the natural progression of Knutsson, taking the MMA plunge in mid-2020 as an amateur.
Knutsson (4-0) last picked up a unanimous decision win over Seo Ye Dam in a one-off bout during the start of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) recent Road to UFC tournament event series. While she didn’t get signed to the promotion after the win, “Thunder” knows it’s an inevitability.
“I want to go to the UFC,” Knutsson told MMA Mania. “That’s been my goal since day No. 1 when I started with MMA. UFC is where I’m going and I’m going to fulfill my dreams. I’m going there. It’s no question about it. Just a matter of time and a matter of fights.
“I see every fight as an opportunity, but I can’t speak for them,” she continued. “If they like what they see, they like what they see. I have to think fight-by-fight.”
Jacinta Austin next stands in Knutsson’s way as the two collide this weekend (Sat., Feb. 25, 2023) in Abu Dhabi at UAE Warriors 36. For Knutsson — and any newcomer to the 115-pound weight class — she finds herself tasked with a stiff challenge at every opportunity. Strawweight is largely considered the best female division on the planet and the difficulty level is something the Swede embraces with open arms.
Not much of an MMA fan on a week-to-week basis, Knutsson does her fair share of studying her fellow Strawweights. If all goes according to plan, she’ll eventually be able to call some of her idols her rivals.
“Rose [Namajunas], I love her style,” Knutsson said. “She has a really complex game in MMA. I always love to watch her fight. [Zhang] Weili, she’s more like a panther-fighter. Different styles, but of course, some of the girls in my division I check them out all the time.
“I look up to them, but at the same time, I see them as my rivals in the future,” she concluded.