How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I grew up in the small town of Ukiah, California and didn't play any sports until I joined the boys wrestling team in high school. I was the only girl the first year I wrestled, until I went out and recruited other females the next year. I wrestled for three years in high school and won 3 girls state championships. I was a girl’s tri-state champion in California, Washington and Oregon (2002-2005). I was also on the boy’s team and would beat guys regularly. I was recruited to wrestle for Menlo College, a 4-year private business college (Atherton, CA) out of high school. I wrestled on the women's collegiate team from 2005-2009 where I was the team captain my Jr. and Sr. years and was a 4X All-American and also placed 4th on the national level my Jr. and Sr. years. After graduating from Menlo College with my B.A in Mass Communications (Media Studies), I took a year off from athletics. Somewhat lost and confused on what direction I wanted my sports career to go, I started playing rugby on a club team in East Palo Alto. Rugby filled my sports void but it wasn't until I met my strength and conditioning coach for rugby that I really discovered the direction I wanted to take my athletic career in. I met former Strikeforce middle weight champion, Eugene "The Wolf" Jackson as he was developing his MMA gym and the dots just connected. I started training MMA in 2011 and fought under Jackson for ten months. I fought 5 fights in seven months and then decided to move to southern California. I had a hard time getting settled once moved and didn't find a gym to train at for the first four months or so. I finally found Reign Training Center in Lake Forest, California and started training under UFC fighter Mark Munoz. I fought 2 fights while representing Reign TC. I took home the 140lb belt from Tuff-N-Uff my first fight since moving to Orange County and lost my second fight for the 145lb belt. I ended up going Pro after 9 amateur fights and signed with Miami based promotion Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) where I have earned my 1st professional win as well as my spot in the women's 145lb tournament finals for $20,000.
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I train at Subfighter MMA in Laguna Hills. I also train at Innovative Results in Costa Mesa for my strength and conditioning. I train six days a week at my MMA gym-Subfighter as well as three times a week at my strength and conditioning gym (Monday through Thursday are double days). I'm lucky to get train so much. We have an amazing jiu-jitsu black belt and pro fighter Russ Miura, pro fighter Adam Lynn who is my striking coach and a plethora of teammates that are extremely skilled and push me every day.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you're fighting and where?
-I’m fighting October 12th for Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) in Coral Gables, Florida. I'm fighting for the 145lb. women's featherweight title, $20,000 and I'm up against the first-ever transgender fighter – Fallon Fox (3-0). My opponent is 38 years old and a grappler by background.
What is your best experience as a fighter? What is your worst?
-My best experience as a fighter has been defeating a former opponent and winning my first pro fight all in one night. It felt great to be on a large stage, get paid for something I love doing and get redemption for a loss.
-My worst experience as a fighter was when I got knocked out. Some people might not want to talk about that type of experience but for me it was a learning process. So I guess you could say it really WASN’T my worst experience. But it definitely really sucked! Lol
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-There is no better time than now to put your gloves on and fight. The doors wide open for women and titles are ripe for the picking.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-Once I started wrestling when I was in high school I was inspired to be the best athlete I could be. It taught me discipline and how to set my goals high. Wrestling has been huge impact in my life and I don't think I'd be a professional athlete today without it.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-Carla "The Cookie Monster" Esparza is my favorite female fighter. Frankie Edgar is always the underdog and the comeback kid. I especially relate to his fights. I feel like I'm the underdog and I'm gonna be victorious and shock people like he does.
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting?
-I love going to punk-rock shows, hanging out with friends, going to local fights, surfing, yoga, cooking vegetarian meals for my friends in hopes that they come to "my side." Haha
For those who will inquire we have a few questions for the male readership as well.
Are you single?
What do you look for in a guy?
-I like big guys. I'm a big girl so I want a guy who makes me feel little. I'd say 170 pounder and up but more like a 205er. He's got to be an athlete for sure. Just feels right to have someone who understands what you go through day in and day out. I like a guy who's into the same kind of music since music moves me so much. I'm very passionate about the music I listen to. Those would be my top three things I look for in a guy.
What would you say is your best feature?
-I'm not sure, maybe my eyes? ;)
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?
-Of course. I dream of being a world champion in the highest organization in MMA. I dream of making an impact on people's lives everywhere. I dream of being written in history books and never forgotten. I dream of a better future for my potentially unborn children and being so successful I won't ever have to worry about my own financial woes or my families'.
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-I wouldn't be anywhere without my teammates and coaches at Subfighter MMA, Adam Lynn, Russ Miura, everyone at Innovative Results-Corey Beasly and they're amazing stuff. My awesome sponsors: Amber Sports, CNP Performance, Lexani, Bloodhound Clothing, Fighter Girls and O.C Fight Doc.
Thank you very much for your time Ashlee and good luck on fight night! Click here to purchase tickets to the fights or catch them live on AXS TV starting at 9 PM ET. For more on Ashlee Evans-Smith please visit her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and check out her website.