I’m fighting Jenny Huang this Friday in Bangkok, Thailand at #ONEChampionship: Warrior Kingdom, and every time I go out there and fight, I’m breaking barriers and all these different types of stereotypes for women, and for different races.
It’s been a little while since I’ve fought, so I’m extremely hungry and excited, and looking forward to getting back into the cage, but I think it’s even harder to keep the belt than it is to fight for it, so I’ve been training extremely hard.
In my last fight, the one thing I underestimated was how much the nerves and the pressure would affect me on fight night. Fortunately, I have a great team at #EvolveMMA: my coaches are Muay Thai champions and MMA world champions; there’s so much knowledge from all the coaches and from all my teammates. They’ve all really helped me and carried me to where I am now.
Training with guys like #RafaelDosAnjos, Shinya Aoki, and Ben Askren, I’ve learned that I don’t need to go in there to kill, and to finish the fight as quickly as possible. The buildup to my last fight was pretty big, so when I got in the cage I was trying to go for the submission, but Yamaguchi was so good at defending it, I had to keep just adapting in the moment.
When I got knocked down in the third round, that kind of shook me up a bit and kind of woke me up. In my head I was saying “this is a fight, don’t think about the nerves, or pressure, expectations. you gotta deal with what’s going on right now in front of you.”
After that I was more alert.
I was fighting to finish the fight until the last seconds of the fifth round, and I had on an arm-triangle choke when the final bell rang, so it was really good experience for me to face a tough fighter like that.
Some people would get frustrated from the fact that they couldn’t finish the fight, but for me that never crossed my mind. Just keeping that pace throughout the whole fight definitely helped me to grow as a fighter and a martial artist, and I know that experience will help me against Jenny Huang.
I’ve seen a couple of her last fights live actually, she fought on the same card as my brother Christian, and she’s a pretty well-rounded fighter.
Her specialty is submissions, so I’m excited to see how our grappling styles match up. I’m looking forward to showing the world why I’m the champion, and because of my coaches and training partners at Evolve, and my dad who’s specialty is putting everything together for MMA, transitioning between all these different styles and the martial arts, I no longer think about the nerves, or pressure, or expectations.
I just gotta deal with what’s going on right now in front of me.