Genah Fabian is ready to pave the way.

The Kiwi mixed martial artist has signed on to compete in the inaugural women's lightweight division of the Professional Fighter's League (PFL), a competition in which the winner collects a US$1 million prize.

For Fabian, the opportunity to compete in the inaugural tournament provided more than just a paycheck.

"It's groundbreaking, you know?" she told the Herald. "Women's MMA in general is still some years behind the men so, aside from obviously going all the way and wanting to win it, the bigger picture is the fact that this tournament and being able to compete in it is going to be able to help grow women's MMA. It'll take some years, but one day we'll catch up to the men in that regard so I'm really excited about that and the fact that on a world stage we get the chance to do that."

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💰MONEY💰 #Repost ProFightLeague ・・・ Meet the new contenders in MMA’s first Women’s Lightweight Division. #IWD2019

Posted by Csa Gym on Friday, 8 March 2019

The 2019 season will be the first year the PFL has included a women's division – with six men's divisions contested in 2018.

"That whole idea of women not doing these kinds of sports and being in those types of environments, that's vastly changing."

The PFL was established in 2012 under the moniker of the World Series of Fighting. It was renamed in 2017 with the 2018 edition being the first under its new title. Unlike most MMA fight nights, the PFL features a regular season where fighters get points for their wins. The top fighters at the end of the season move into the knockout stages.

For Fabian, the contract with PFL was the next step in her MMA journey after winning the World Muay Thai Council Middleweight title early in 2018.

When people ask me about what I think of other gyms, coaches in a negative manner or did you see this person copy CSA or this Coach do your drill ... I honestly don’t know what they are expecting from me ... my answer is always the same “I wish them well” and “Good for them”. All I know is this... I wake up every day and my primary focus is simple how can I help people achieve their dreams, how can I get “this person” closer to “that goal”. Every picture, every belt, every banner, tells a story of someone’s “Dream” fulfilled. If someone sees what what we (MJ and I) are doing here at CSA and wants to emulate it, copy it, what ever...why would that bother me... please do it... there are more than enough Dreams to go around and no where near enough dream makers to help fulfill them. I may not be the best Coach in the world, but I can tell you this there aren’t many that care more, try harder and sacrifice as much as I do for other people’s dreams...You can’t fake that, your either living life in one of two ways... being “self serving” or “serving others. Give more...take less and feel free to take what I do and make it yours... just make sure you actually care ... because our model at CSA doesn’t work any other way 🙏#Repost Genah Fabian ・・・ As someone (who I’ve grown to adore) quoted ‘FACE YOUR FEARS AND LIVE YOUR DREAMS’ - Kevin Ross 💯 Pertaining to whatever it may be that sets your soul on fire... These are moments of for life! 💫 Though this moment for me is now obsolete and I’m focused on the next mission, it’s cool I got something to show my minions one day as proof lol 😆🙏🏽 @csagym @fortyfourlove Seven Seas Roasting Co. #Repost @womens_martial_arts ・・・ Genah Fabian ▹Triumphant 3 (Muay Thai) ▹Genah Fabian vs. Charmaine Tweet ▹Feb 25, 2018 A good job! Beautiful KO! #GenahFabian #Fabian #MuayThai #mma #Boxing #Kickboxing #WMC #Triumphant #Triumphant3 #WorldChampion #FightNight #PacificIslanderMma #headkick #girlpower #kick #kickass #lefthand #knee #knockout #ko #lethalkicks #samoa #newzealand #Champion

Posted by Csa Gym on Sunday, 10 March 2019

A former top level sprinter and triple jumper, Fabian turned her attention to the fight game in 2012 after dabbling in Muay Thai on a trip to Thailand. She trained there before returning to New Zealand where she joined the team at City Kickboxing.

With the tutelage of the gym's trainers, including her cousin Eugene Bareman, and the opportunity to train alongside the likes of Israel Adesanya, Kai Kara France and Dan Hooker, Fabian's star began to rise.

Struggling to get into the ring in Muay Thai due to opponents withdrawing and other elements out of her control in 2015 and 2016, Fabian took her first two MMA bouts – winning both.

Going 2-0 to start her MMA career, and holding a 9-2 Muay Thai record, the Kiwi knew to make it in the sport she needed to get Stateside.

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"(City Kickboxing) knew for me to make the most of my opportunities I had to be in the hub and in front of the right people and be accessible in America. Being on the other side of the world at the time wasn't giving me those opportunities," she said.

Linking up with California's Combat Sport Academy, where the likes of UFC fighters Jessica-Rose Clark and Matt Schnell hone their craft, Fabian was told to solely focus on Muay Thai.

"The head coach Kirian Fitzgibbons… he mapped it out. He said 'don't see this as a step back but we're going to fight Muay Thai a few more times and get your name established before we go back into MMA.'"

It worked a treat as Fabian went on to claim a world title – a goal she had set for herself in 2017 – and earn a deal with the PFL.

Contracted until the end of 2019, Fabian's deal could renew for the 2020 season, while the ultimate goal for her was to make it into the UFC.

However if she were to make a run at UFC she would have to fight in the featherweight division, with the promotion not offering a women's lightweight division.

Fabian has fought a featherweight before, but admitted she had been through some bad weight cuts and lightweight is a much more comfortable weight for her.

"I've been through some really tough weight cuts and it's really affected my health and my body over the years, especially being a woman."

However if she were to make a run at UFC she would have to fight in the featherweight division, with the promotion not offering a women's lightweight division," she said.

"(The PFL) is a great opportunity for me to be comfortable and to perform at a healthy weight for me."