Modified 01 Jun 2020, 21:19 IST
With a career that dates back to 2003, Roxanne Modafferi today is amongst the few MMA fighters who have managed to stay relevant in the sport over generations. With a record of 24-16, Modafferi has competed in Strikeforce, Jewel, Invicta FC and the UFC.
Having gone 2-1 in her last 3, which includes wins over prospects like Maycee Barber, Roxanne Modafferi is now on the cusp of a title shot. Standing in her path is fellow rising contender Lauren Murphy whom she’ll face at UFC 250. Ahead of her fight she agreed to answer a few of our questions
Here’s the excerpts from our tête-à-tête with Roxanne Modafferi
Multiple fighters in the UFC have decided to not fight during this pandemic. What motivates your decision to compete during this calamity?
When the gyms closed, I managed to continue training. I’ve been doing striking with my Muay Thai coach AJ Matthews in his garage almost every day. Then, my teammate Justin “The Machine” Osborn joined, as did a girl Kelly Ziemba from a different gym who I immediately made friends with. AJ’s friend Tywan Claxton is a wrestler and took it upon himself to give me wrestling coaching and advice. I also did more strength and conditioning than usual with my trainer Lorenzo Pavlica in HIS backyard. We were supposed to be quarantining so I never talked about it until now and we just stayed in that small group. I’ve been feeling great, and I know I’ve leveled up during this time in all areas of MMA and strength. I’m excited to get this fight offer to show off what I can do.
What are some of the massive changes that you have had to incorporate in this camo because of this disease? Do you see anyone of them becoming a permeant thing in the post-corona era?
The major changes were just lack of training with my normal partners and Team Syndicate. I miss them a lot. I couldn’t see my best friend Serena or head coach John. I couldn’t do much cage training or we’d break AJ’s garage wall. I dragged my mat to the park to train with Justin and Kelly when I didn’t wanna barge in on my AJ. I’ve been able to develop other things with AJ, and also found a new grappling coach in Neil Melanson. It’s been great because I got to focus 100% on myself and customize training to me completely. I absolutely want to continue training with them more in the future. Now in the second half of my camp, things are a little more normal now that I’m starting to train with members of my team as Las Vegas comes out of lockdown
You are an anime fan. As people are starved for content, what anime shows would you recommend for your fans?
Several new anime on Netflix are Cells at Work, a kind of comedy about cells in the human body being personified and doing jobs, being attacked by the evil outside bacteria and viruses. I also enjoyed FireForce and GodEater.
You’re known for maintaining a calm persona before, during, and after fights. How are you managing that right now when everything is just screaming chaos?
I’ve had an extremely chaotic camp with lots of emotional roller coasters. I’m grateful I’ve got those people I mentioned above who have my back, and are solid like a rock for me. I also have a deep-set motivation. Life is a race and you have to run to see how fast you can improve, and how much more you can do than the people around you. Every day I get up and RUN!
You’ve over the course of your past few fights have emerged as the dark horse of the division. How does it feel that despite being more experienced than your opponent’s you’re considered as the underdog?
I never feel like the underdog but am usually pegged as one, so I don’t pay much heed to it. I just tell my friends to bet money on me.
Your opponent Lauren Murphy has been on a winning streak. Do you think a win over her qualifies you for a title shot? If no, then who do you think you’ll have to face next?
I’m trying not to think about what would happen after I fight her. I’m only focusing on what awesome techniques I’m going to whack her with.
I want JoJo to win her next fight. As I said before, I’m only thinking about Lauren. The future is yet not yet written.