We recently connected with fighter babe Sarah Goodlaxson who will return to the cage this Saturday in Galesburg, IL vs. Sam Winkler for East Peoria Throwdown Round 8. In her own words Sarah's roots came from Galesburg, a small town surrounded by cornfields, tractors and churches. One can only imagine that MMA was never something people expected her to do so it still takes some people by surprise when they find out. She often hears, "You fight? But you're so tiny!" from everyone new that she meets. MMA was the beginning of Sarah coming out of her shell, finding out who she really was and accepting that. It has helped her in many different ways and opened her eyes to all different kinds of people.
After her fight this Saturday Sarah will already be back fighting on June 11th vs. Courtney Lemons for April Penrod's promotion in Mt. Vernon, IL and then on June 25th vs. Danielle Howe in Royal Oak, MI for King of the Cage! After a busy month like that she will ease up for awhile as school will be starting and from there Sarah can assess her time to see how everything will work out. To sum up Sarah said, "Until then, I'm hitting it hard, no pun intended." Continue reading below to find out more about Sarah and her insightful replies to our questions.
How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I first got introduced to MMA in November of 2008 but didn’t start actually training for quite a while. In the beginning I really just enjoyed working out and as anyone who trains MMA knows, it’s challenging! I had my first fight in September 2009 and to this day still wish I would have trained longer before it because I really didn’t know what I was doing. The fight went all three rounds and I won via split decision. Everyone has to start somewhere and that was my beginning! Since then I’ve had my ups and downs, wins and losses, gym changes and life changes to top it off.
Where are you currently training and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I’m currently training with the H8 Squad and living in Warren, Michigan. I moved to Michigan in September 2010 and the team has been very welcoming. My schedule looks a little something like this - Monday: Kickboxing, Tuesday: Judo/GI-BJJ, Wednesday: MMA sparring, Thursday: No-Gi, Friday is normally a rest day, Saturday: rolling/sparring. Occasionally Sundays become a “roaming” day and we team up with other MMA teams in the area to get new sparring and rolling partners.
-I only work Monday through Wednesday so Thursday and Friday I meet my teammate Kelly Warren at the gym for muscular endurance circuits which are absolutely killer! After training Monday and Wednesday we do our sandbag workouts which are one of Kelly and my sponsors from Brute Force Sandbags. It’s NOT easy and extremely exhausting when you do rounds and rounds with it!
What is your best experience as a fighter? What is your worst?
-My best experiences as a fighter have been meeting so many amazing people! Most are so kind and I’ve made so many friends. My last opponent, Jessica Philippus, is actually driving 5 hours to come to my fight on May 28th!
-My worst experience has been trusting people that don’t have my best interests in mind. My second amateur fight was against a girl that went pro right after our fight and I’d only been training for 6 months at the time. She's amazing and we're friends now but fight-wise, it was a terrible fight to put me in at that time. In the beginning, I was just too trusting of everyone. I’ve learned you have to always watch out for yourself and do what you know is right!
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-Train for at least a year before your first fight! It will take years to learn this sport and even the best are still learning because MMA is always evolving. Take your time, it’s better to be overly-ready than not ready at all.
What are some of the hurdles that you think Women in MMA need to overcome before Women's MMA will be considered a top level sport like Men's MMA is today?
-Who cares if you’re a man or a woman? I don't. If you’re a great athlete, then you’re a great athlete. That’s the bottom line. It’s a fact that Women’s sports aren’t “held as highly” as men’s sports in every genre. In general, we aren’t as strong, as big, as fast, or as athletic in some aspects. Women in general, just weren’t made with the same body type as men! It doesn’t make us any less valuable than men, or any less-worthy, we’re just different. And until women accept that and get over it, they’re always going to have a sort of “equal rights” mindset to everything they do! Obviously men aren’t going to compete against women and there has to be some degree of separation, but it’s time for women to stop saying, “we’re just as good as the men” and BE what their words are asking for.
When do you think we will see women’s divisions in the UFC?
-When it happens, it happens. Whining, complaining and calling Dana White a sexist pig (like I've seen a good number of women do) isn’t going to help one bit. It’s like being a nagging housewife; you’re going to eventually get tuned out. Like I said above, do the work, be a great athlete and it’ll happen.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-I really just have people I like a lot! I enjoy watching people grow and improve and I've especially seen that a lot lately! In general, those are all the people that inspire me to keep training, keep pushing and I know someday I'll be that person!
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-I love Cris Cyborg and really wish there were multiple people ready to fight at her level and that could give her a great fight. Her recent fights have been very one-sided. This is just one example of how our side of the sport really needs to grow. We just don’t have the numbers!
-I love Cat Zingano, a great 125lb fighter. She’s an awesome wrestler and comes up with some of the coolest takedowns I’ve ever seen. Her fights are always interesting and explosive, it’s people like her that are the present and the future! I just ordered a pair of her Vale Tudo shorts she sells through Zingano BJJ; they're cow print, how enthralling is that? Everyone should definitely check her shorts out!
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting? Any hobbies?
-I try really hard to just relax when I’m not training! When I get home from training I chill out on the couch with my boyfriend and watch TV. The weekends are always crazy as we’re always doing something. Summer is coming up (it still feels like early spring here in Michigan, it’s really crazy) so I’m sure as soon as the weather begins to cooperate, we’ll be gone every single weekend camping, kayaking, anything outdoors really! Today my hobby was shopping and I got a manicure and a pedicure!
Any future plans or dreams?
-Of course my future plans include fighting in the Strawweight division as a Pro. I will graduate college with a degree in Exercise Science and my ultimate dream right now is to move to Florida and train at ATT! But, things can change in a short amount of time so we’ll see where my head is when I graduate!
-Right now I’m just concentrating on training. I have a while until I graduate college, which will be another two years, and until then I don’t have the time to train like I’d need to in order to even think about going Pro. I have a lot to learn, so that’s all I’m focusing on! I’m taking one thing at a time.
Thank you very much for your time Sarah! We wish you nothing but the best on all those upcoming fights and the incredible future ahead of you. Being from Illinois we hope to catch of your fights live sometime very soon! To catch up on the latest news from Sarah be sure to say hello to her on Twitter @sarahgoodlaxson.