Wrestling has always been my life. From the age of six, all the way until college, all I did was wrestle. I never competed in any kind of striking before I made my amateur debut in March 2016.
Of course, I took classes and trained, but when I walked into that cage for the first time, it was a true test to what I had been learning. Most people think that fighters with a wrestling background just lay on their opponents until the time runs out and they win — that's not me.
Of my three MMA fights, I have won all by TKO. There's no laying down.
Now, less than a year after making my debut, I have been offered my first amateur title shot. On January 21, I will be competing at 559 Fights for the California state title, and I know, without a doubt, that I am ready to win this belt.
I know that I can outmatch anyone, and I know my time is now.
There have been times where I was offered fights and the timing wasn't right, and I turned them down. Now, the time is right for me to take the title, it's been something I have been hoping and praying for, and after I win I will take the next logical step in my career.
But, I'm not sure yet if that means turning professional.
I'm already 25, and I know that I need to take my abilities to the next level but I'm not sure if this will be my last amateur fight, or if it will just be a step in that direction.
I try not think too far in advance because you never know what can happen in a year. If you had asked me this time last year if I'd be fighting for a title, I would have said "No," but here I am. A year ago I wasn't even sure I'd ever have an MMA fight.
I don't know what the future holds for me, but I know this much — I'm only going uphill from here.
All photos by Amy Kaplan