How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I started out as a runner. I've been running since I can remember and competed in cross country and long distance track (1 mile - 2 mile). That's where I met Dean (my coach) and we became very good friends. After high school we both went our separate ways and didn't stay in touch much. I heard he was into MMA but didn't know much more about the sport other than watching UFC on TV. I always wanted to try out kickboxing mainly for the workout but never with the intentions of fighting. Eventually a few years after high school we met up again, he invited me to his gym to watch him and the guys train and that's when I was hooked. I started just by watching and helping out by timing rounds for the guys, learning what I could on the sidelines. Shortly after that though another girl became interested in training so I then had a training partner and we just went from there. That was in the beginning of June 2010.
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I train out of Wenatchee, Washington with a small fight team called "Submission Factory". Training for me changes from week to week depending on what's going on with my work schedule and such. Monday nights I teach a cardio kickboxing class which is really motivating. It's so awesome to see people learning a new skill that I'm so passionate about. The rest of the week is compiled with lots of long runs (3 to 6 mile runs) and on top of that I try to fit grappling in 2 - 3 times a week as well as lots of pad work. I believe cardio and technique are both equally important so that's where I put most of my energy.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you're fighting and where?
-I'm super excited for my next fight. It will be my pro debut! I'm going up a weight class for this fight so the fight will be at 135 lbs and I'm fighting Elizabeth Phillips out of Sik-Jitsu in Spokane, Washington. We will be the Co-Main Event and it will be an outdoor show at Northern Quest Resort and Casino right outside of Spokane, Washington. To get tickets you can call (509) 481-6700 or click here to purchase online.
What has been your best experience as a fighter so far?
-I'd say my very first fight was a great experience. I trained 2 years before I took my first MMA fight and it was such an awesome feeling to go in there and win in 45 seconds. It felt so unreal I couldn't believe after all the time and effort in the gym that I ended up being the cage for less than a minute!
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-My advice would be to TRAIN A LOT and when you think you’re ready to get into the cage, train some more! I see a lot of girls with lack of experience get into the cage too soon and it really shows in their performance. It's always good to have a good foundation before competing in any sport I believe. Just because you’re a street fighter doesn't mean you know everything there is to know about being in the cage and winning fights. You might get lucky but I feel you should find a good gym first and work for at least 6 months before thinking about competing.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-I guess seeing women finally in the UFC have really inspired me recently. I can remember when I first started 3 years ago all the guys would say "oh girls will never be in the UFC" and everyone was really negative about it. I always believed in my mind that one day things would change and we would have the same opportunities that the men have. I know I haven't been doing MMA as long as a lot of other women fighters out there but it's exciting to me to know that there are those opportunities and for me I always just want to strive to be the best I can be. I also work in a natural foods store and see many people who have diseases that struggle with tasks as easy as walking so everyday I'm thankful that I have the abilities to do what I do and that inspires me to keep going for those who can't!
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-I've been a big fan of Miesha Tate since I first started MMA. I saw a lot of myself in her and would always watch her interviews wanting to be like her! She's from my home state of Washington and actually had her very first amateur fight here in my hometown of Wenatchee. Now she is in the UFC! :D
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting? Any hobbies?
-I have quite a few hobbies. I get bored easily so I'm always doing stuff to keep myself entertained! Obviously I really like to run so I go out and do that for fun, I also have a road bike which I love to go on bike rides. I have two dogs that are like my kids so I spend a lot of time playing with them. I love messing around on my computer and I studied graphic design in college so I like to create different things for fun. And I have a trampoline which I spend a lot of time jumping on! I'm pretty much like a big kid ;)
For those who will inquire we have a few questions for the male readership as well.
Are you single?
-No, I started dating Dean (my coach) in July 2010. We have one of those best friends, high school sweetheart love stories. I suppose that his transition into a fighter after high school really attracted me to him and I started seeing him more than just a "friend".
What do you look for in a guy?
-I look for someone who is athletic, funny and with a good smile.
What are your turn-ons?
-Animal lovers, athletic, sense of humor, muscles, and smile.
What are your turnoffs?
-I'm really turned off by people who are rude to others or cocky.
What would you say is your best feature?
-I'd say my eyes. I get a lot of compliments on them ;)
Lastly before we let you go we would love to hear about your future plans and let you send some shout outs.
Any future plans or dreams?
-Well I have lots of big dreams! I'd obviously love to be in the UFC one day. I think that'd be super cool and also I really want to have a lot of land where I can have a farm and have lots of animals and grow all my own fruits and vegetables with a big gym located on the property where we can hold MMA retreats :)
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-I'd like to give a few shout outs first to Dean Brim, my coach and boyfriend, he's my big driving force, Jose Garza he's been a long time friend and a great trainer as well, Victor Estrada for all the pad work over the years, Jenny Colella who is the owner of a local crossfit gym and has been my training partner for this fight, Rick Little the promoter who gave me this opportunity to make my pro debut, Slade Bittler at Tussle Fight Gear for my fight outfit, Josh Parrish my boss and Owner of Wenatchee Natural Foods, Klench Mouthguards for their support over the past year, and my friends and family for all their love and support as well!
Thank you very much for your time Stevie and good luck on fight night! For more on Stevie VanAssche please visit her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and check out some of her fights on YouTube.