CHICAGO — There’s nothing like going back to where you came from, it just didn’t happen the way a fighter from Chicago might have ideally wanted it.

“It kinda came by accident,” said Pearl Gonzalez when she made the decision to switch her professional sport after the mixed martial arts professional fighter had knee surgery in 2021.

Unable to grapple because of it, which was a critical part of her fighting style, she went back to boxing, which is a sport she competed in growing up in Pilsen.

“I was born to be a fighter, and I was unwilling to hang up my gloves,” said Gonzalez when faced with the option to switch. “So I just had to pivot.”

Indeed she has, and in under two years, Gonzalez is making strides to establish herself in the sport of boxing after stints in the Ultimate Fighting Championships and Invicta Fighting Championships.

After starting out in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and getting training from undisputed featherweight champion Amanda Serrano, she’s already won her first two professional boxing fights.

Gonzalez has a major challenge this Saturday when she faces Gina Mazany at Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Boxing at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

“It’s the first card of its own. It’s MMA meets boxing,” said Gonzalez of the event. “We have MMA legends that are facing off and squaring off again. Some of these are rematches, inside a ring this time. It’s never happened before.

“I’m so excited to be a part of it.”

Larry Hawley spoke with Gonzalez about her path back to boxing for WGN News Now, and you can watch that in the video above.