How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I started boxing when I was 19. I trained out of Casper and that’s when I saw my first MMA fight! I then started MMA and had my first MMA fight against Raquel Pennington who now fights for Invicta FC when I was 20 years old. I lost but it was fun and I couldn’t wait to get back in the cage. After losing my second MMA fight I went back to boxing to find my love for the sport again. My heart wasn’t into it and after a loss at Ringside World Championships in Kansas I took a break from combat sports. I returned to MMA in 2012 when I was asked to fight on an all women’s card in Casper for Steve Alley. After winning this fight I was super excited to be back and knew this was what I wanted to do. Everything started to fall into place and I was happy with the way I ended 2012 in my fighting career. I am super excited to see what 2013 has in store for me!
Where are you currently training, and what’s a typical training week like for you?
-I’m currently training with Margaret Bloom at Fight Syndicate in Casper. I’ve been with her since June of 2012. Then I travel to Cheyenne and work my boxing with Ray and Vince Montoya at the Cheyenne Boxing Team. I stay in Casper for two weeks of MMA where my weeks are always the same. I weigh in during the morning, chill in the afternoon until about 5, then I go for a run. I am home by 6 to eat and then I have practice from 7-8. Then I make the drive to Cheyenne for the other two week out of the month but things here are a little different. I run in the mornings and practice from 6:30-8:30 Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On the days I don’t have practice I lift. Those are my typical weeks of training throughout the month.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you’re fighting and where?
-I will be fighting Stephanie Essensa at Prestige Fight Club in Saskatchewan, Canada.
What is your best and worst experience as a fighter?
-My best experience I would have to say is every chance I get to make a name for myself and learn from every fight win or lose. My worst experience is losing when you know you won!
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-I can only say what has already been said by other women. Believe in yourself. Either you have it or you don’t, and if you don’t and you want it then work for it. Give it your all and never give up or stop trying. If it was an easy sport everyone would do it. I feel like everyone should try it. You will never know what you are good at until you try it.
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 sports like Men’s MMA is today?
-I don’t think we have any hurdles to overcome. We can put on a show for the people to watch or even better then Men’s MMA. I think if there was any type of hurdle for Women’s MMA then we already jumped them. My example being, having girls fight in Strikeforce, Bellator and now we have an all Women’s promotion called Invicta. If that’s not good enough, we have history in the making with UFC 157 Liz Carmouche vs. Ronda Rousey! So I think we jumped the hurdles very well.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-My inspirations are my family, friends, coach and teammates. They push me to believe that I will make a name for myself in the sport or in anything I put my mind to. And the little ones that look up to me.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-Gina Carano, Zoila Gurgel, Margaret Bloom and any female fighter stepping into the cage!
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting?
-I like to spend time with my loved ones! I like to travel or just sit at home and watch movies. I like ice cream nights with my best friend Brytni and shopping and having crazy nights with my other best friend Avery. I love to listen to and download music. I also enjoy drawing, playing basketball, shopping and anything that has to do with the outdoors.
Of course we have a few questions for the male readership as well.
Are you single?
-No, I am not single.
What do you look for in a partner?
-I would have to say someone who has a kind heart. Someone who has a good outlook on life and knows what they want from it. Someone who has the same morals as I do. A good personality and family oriented.
What are your turn-ons?
-The world may never know! Lol
What are your turnoffs?
-If you don’t smell good and liars. I believe honesty is a key to having a good life.
What would you say is your best feature?
-I’m weird and I’m really attracted to my arms and shoulders but I would have to say my personality and my smile.
Any future plans or dreams?
-My dreams are to become something in the world of Women’s MMA and make a name for myself. To give people a story to tell! My future plans include the Air Force Guard and going back to school so that I have a good life and fight at the same time.
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-I just want to thank my parents for letting me follow my dreams. Thank you to my friends, family and girlfriend for having my back and sticking by my side. Thanks to my teammates for pushing me and my coach for believing in me and taking me under her wing. All my sponsors, Allen Inspection Service, Envy Tattoo, Auto Outlet and my father!
Thank you very much for your time Staci and good luck on fight night! For more on Staci Vega please visit her Facebook and Twitter pages.