ByAshlee Evans-Smith, writer at Creators.co
Official Creators profile for Ashlee Evans-Smith
Ashlee Evans-Smith

I was recently accused of having “fake confidence” in the cage by one of my former opponents. She went on to say that I projected an abundance of confidence to mask something I was unconfident about. After watching the interview I asked, 'Is she right?' It wasn’t a completely idiotic idea, and it had some psychological validity to the sentiment. After careful deliberation and some soul searching, *rolls eyes* I came back with the firm answer in my mind.

F*CK NO.

I won’t lie, there are quite a few things I’m not 100 percent confident about. I’m not confident about my stomach and lack of abdominals; even on weigh-in day I feel like a female Roy Nelson. I’m not confident about the way I look in a dress. I wear them so rarely, that when I actually do dress up, I feel like it's Halloween. It’s like I'm at a costume party, but got the wrong memo for the theme. However, I can tell you one thing I am 100 percent, without a doubt, whole-heartedly confident about--how I feel inside that cage.

My confidence comes from 14 years of competing, 14 years of training, 14 years of putting the same game face on, walking out to that mat or cage, sticking to the game plan, listening to my coaches, putting the outside world out of my mind and competing like a champion. I may not be the best in the world yet, but I’m a coachable athlete who believes in herself, and that’s the first step to getting there.

I’ve had losses. I’ve been KO’d, submitted, and embarrassed. Those moments give me more confidence today. However, even if I didn’t have nearly a decade and a half of competition experience, I’d still be fine.

Even if I was “faking” my confidence in the cage, even if I was scared out of my mind and felt like throwing up, I’d still be fine and win fights. I believe having a good poker face and carrying yourself the right way is truly important. Some people want to give you the death stare, some want to trash talk up till the moment you touch gloves and some prefer to let their fists do the talking.

Ever heard the phrase “Fake it till you make it?" It’s legit.

Muhammad Ali told himself he was the baddest man alive over and over and over until he started to believe it. He ‘“faked” a statement until he made himself believe it.

Your mind is a powerful and beautiful thing, and it can bring you confidence without the experience and composure of a veteran.

Whether you believe it right now or not, walk into that cage, that mat, that court or field with confidence and do what you train to do. The reality of that confidence will come later. Who cares if someone doesn't believe you until then?

For the record, I confidently beat that opponent who questioned my confidence.