How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I first got involved with martial arts in 1995, at age 5 with Karate. I trained with Sensei Fred Davis for 12 years; I received my Black Belt from him. Before MMA I was a kick boxer, I had 17 fights and won 3 amateur world titles. I just recently started MMA in September of 2011. Since then I’ve become 5-0 and earned my first MMA 115 lb. title. Altogether I have trained Muay Thai 4 years, bjj 3.5, and MMA for 1.5 years.
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-Currently I’ve been training at American Top Team under coaches Ricardo Liborio and Rian Gittman. I work full-time so most of my training is done at night. Monday and Wednesday I train bjj and wrestling, Tuesday and Thursday MMA and sparring and on Fridays and Saturdays technique and private training along with sparring.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you're fighting and where?
-June 23rd I will be fighting Ashley Greenway 3-0 for the 115 lb amateur MMA U.S Freedom Fighters Title in North Carolina as the Co-Main event. Following this I will fight July 16th locally in West Palm Beach, FL vs. Amber Stautzenberger (4-2) for the 115 lbs American Battleship Title as the Main Event.
What is your best experience as a fighter? What is your worst?
-My best experience was my trip to Dublin, Ireland last November 2011!! It was my first time out of the country and I got to meet fighters from all over the world at the WAKO world championships of kickboxing. What an experience it was. My worst experience is showing up to a fight and no opponent ever came which has happened more than once.
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-My advice to other women looking to begin training would be to research and try out a few gyms first before signing up just anywhere. Once you find your home, start simple. I would recommend standup (Muay Thai) because that’s where the fight begins. Take it slow, once you've got become situated with your standup begin incorporating bjj and wrestling into your game. I would definitely recommend doing some Muay Thai or kickboxing bouts before you step into an MMA cage, experience is experience. Compete locally at tournaments. The worst thing a fighter can do is rush into something, whether it be to make money or because someone else is pushing them. You know your limits, listen to your heart.
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?
-Hurdles, Women's MMA needs more shows willing to put out the money to fly in women fighters and pay them accordingly. With the growth of the sport and new promotions like INVICTA <3, an all Pro Female based production, WMMA is available for all to see and this is what we need, more exposure and sponsorships. Also Invicta's recent collaboration with JEWELS, Japan's WMMA, allows an International spread of women!
When do you think we will see women divisions in the UFC?
-I'm not sure if there will ever be a women's division in the UFC but I definitely think that ZUFFA, if not already will see the potential of WMMA and its money, marketing, entertainment value and somehow take part in buying some type of ownership. I personally think it can only benefit WMMA, bigger sponsorships means more money to the deserving fighters and more exposure with TV, etc.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-My inspirations in MMA are each and every other WMMA fighter out there. It takes a lot of courage and strength as a woman to step into a cage and be willing to "throw-down" with someone. I look up to many different fighters for different reasons. My life inspirations are God, himself, for anything is possible with him by my side. My mom for telling me she loves me every day of my being and pushing me to make a better life for myself.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-My favorite male MMA fighters are Jose Aldo and Anderson Silva. Females, I appreciate all of them but If I could take certain things from them it would be Ronda Rousey's Judo, Megumi Fugii’s foot and ankle Locks, Cris Cyborg and Zoila Frausto’s standup and Sara McMann and Carla Esparza’s wrestling.
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting?
-In my free time I like to relax on the beach, movie nights at home, and spending time with my family. I really enjoy the theater, comedy clubs, and zoos. I don't party, I’ve never ever drank or smoked, or done drugs. I live a pretty simple life.
Of course we have a few questions for the male readership as well.
What do you look for in a guy?
-Respect, honesty, physically fit, secure in themselves, a job, educated, goals and a non-smoker. Good looks don’t hurt!! =)
What are your turn-ons?
-A great smile.
What are your turnoffs?
What would you say is your best feature?
-My arms. They have always been pretty defined and toned.
Any future plans or dreams?
-My future plans in regards to MMA are to be the best fighter I can be. I want to make my way to the top and I will do everything I can possibly do to make it there. I’d love to branch out and start doing some promotional things such as fitness modeling and TV. As far as career wise, I’d like to use my degree and work for some type of government agency one day. I’d like to start a nonprofit one day geared toward young female adolescents that would promote a healthy lifestyle through fitness, faith and education. I wish I could do everything at once, but I will take it one step at a time.
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-In no particular order but trying to be chronological. God, my Mother, my family, Fred Davis, Larry Borden, Team Popovitch, Knuckleup Fitness, Tussle, South Florida Fight Club, my Fans, my friends and ATT American Top Team.
Thank you for your time Tecia and best of luck on fight night and your career aspirations. For the latest on The Tiny Tornado visit her Facebook page.