Q&A with Fil-Aussie MMA fighter Natalie Gonzales Hills aka “The Kilapino”

natalie gonzales hills kilapino
natalie gonzales hills kilapino

Natalie Gonzales Hills “The Kilapino”

Next Bout: vs. Angela Lee
13 November 2015
Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore

Nationality: Australian (with Filipino roots)
Date of Birth:
17 February 1988   (27 Years Old)
Primary Fighting Discipline: Muay Thai
Secondary Fighting Discipline:
Professional Record:
2 Wins, 2 Losses
Highly aggressive, solid striking technique, capable mat skills

1. What’s the story behind the nickname, “The Kilapino”?

On the run up to my first pro fight, I got asked what my fight nickname would be. I had all these ideas but nothing fitted. My boyfriend suggested ‘The Kilapino’ (a mash-up of ‘killer’ and ‘Filipino’) as I’m Filipino and it stuck. Soon everyone at the gym would joke around and call me ‘The Kilapino’ and my fighting style is very aggressive so it worked.

2. What’s your Filipino ethnic background?

I was born in the town of San Antonio in Cavite City, Philippines. ‘El Caviteno’ represent! My mother is Filipino and my father is English. I left the Philippines before I was one year old and was raised in the United Kingdom.

3. When and how did you get into MMA?

I was having a rough time at university and started boxing to improve my confidence. I was fed up with the binge drinking culture and had been victim to a racial attack by a gang in my first year of study so I took solace in the gym. I tried out the other classes at Trojan Free Fighters (gym) including MMA and soon was hooked, training every day. I had studied karate as a kid so I picked up Kick Boxing the easiest. By the time my degree was finished, I had decided to leave the UK to train Muay Thai in Thailand. I won both my bouts there and continued travelling and training throughout Asia. I had an opportunity to fight on the first all-women’s MMA card in Australia and won my Brace debut. Since then I have only fought MMA but still have a love for Muay Thai.

4. What’s going through your mind as you debut for ONE Championship?

I’m really excited to be fighting internationally and to debut on ONE Championship is huge! I want to put on a great performance and get back on the winning track. There is a lot going through my mind but I’m really trying to stay focused, keep my composure and fight my fight.

5. What can you say about your opponent, Angela “Unstoppable” Lee?

I do not research my opponent once a fight has been confirmed and leave the detective work and game plan to my coaches.  I know she is talented and hungry but I have those qualities too so I do not worry but look forward to the challenge.

6. Filipinos are passionate about their sports. MMA has a huge local following in the Philippines. What does it feel like knowing you’ll be inheriting the support of thousands of Filipino MMA fans in the country?

I’m really excited to be fighting for ONE Championship and to have a chance at connecting with Filipino fight fans. I was born in Cavite City less than an hour away from Manila so it has always been a dream of mine to fight there. I would be honored to gain a following in the Philippines because although I was raised in England, I have always been very proud of my Filipino heritage.

7. What makes you uniquely Filipino?

My mother always told me I was stubborn, ‘matigas ang ulo’ (hard-headed) or in chavacano ‘duro cabeza’ and its true. I take that attitude into my fighting. I’m very aggressive and keep pushing forward. I also have the Filipino flag tattooed on my elbow and on my wrists, I have the words “Kilalanin mo ang iyong sarili (know yourself), Igalang mo ang iyong sarili (respect yourself)’ to remind me of my roots and to keep me grounded.

8. Have you ever been in/gone back to the Philippines? How often?

As a child we went from England to the Philippines for family holidays. In 2011, I went to live in the Philippines for three months with my relatives and tried to learn Tagalog. I had been studying Arnis in England and was excited when I found a local gym near the market. Sr. Henry Cerilla became my ‘punong guro’ (chief teacher) and I learnt from him three times a day. He also took me to different martial arts gyms including Yawyan Fervilleon. I revisited in 2013 for two months and studied Arnis and Yawyan again. Arnis Eskrima De Cavite became my second home. I would like to visit more.