Invicta FC 7 at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Missouri. We recently caught up with Munah prior to her debut fight under the Invicta banner for the interview below to learn a little more about her.
How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-My sister, Rofiah Crawford, is the person who inspired me to begin training MMA. The pleasure and enjoyment I saw on her face and the confidence she exuded made me feel that I had to try it out. She just seemed so happy while she was training and her physique was amazing; she looked so lean and yet so very powerful. I have been training for over 18 years.
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I train with Tiger Schulmann's MMA at our fight camp in Elmwood Park, NJ. I have been with the same team for 18 years.
-A typical training week would be, Monday Boxing for an hour followed by Jiu-jitsu and Wrestling for another hour, then ½ hour of strength and conditioning (Monday evenings I also have an additional flexibility and conditioning private session for an hour). Tuesday is 2 hours of Kickboxing or Jiu-jitsu (alternates every few weeks) followed by ½ hour of strength and conditioning; Wednesday is one hour of Kickboxing followed by one hour of Wrestling and ½ hour strength and conditioning (Wednesday evenings I also have an hour private session of flexibility and conditioning). Thursday is one hour of Kickboxing and one hour of Jujitsu then ½ hour strength and conditioning. Friday is one hour of Boxing and one hour of MMA and wrestling, Saturday is mainly focused on strength and conditioning only, and Sunday is two hours of Boxing and 1 ½ hours of wrestling. Now, don’t misunderstand, I do not train every day of the week. Your body needs recovery time too, so I will alternate a day or two off (depending on my body’s needs). Alternating the day off is important so I do not miss any particular session each week every week.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you're fighting and where?
-I am incredibly excited about my upcoming fight! I have been looking forward to this event since well before I found out I had an opponent. Working with Invicta FC is such a tremendous opportunity. I will be fighting in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday, December 7th with Invicta FC. My opponent is Nina Ansaroff and my weight class is 125 lbs.
What has been your best experience as a fighter?
-My best experience as a fighter, truth be told, I just cannot say only one. I have been so fortunate to compete as an Amateur in the New York Golden Gloves in Madison Square Garden, not once but twice. I also believe that competing with Chuck Norris’s World Combat League -- years ago now -- exposed me to some of the world’s best Pro-Kickboxers and helped me to solidify my passion for competition. Lastly, my Bellator MMA fight with Marianna Kheyfets at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut was truly a defining moment for me. Although all these events have been some of my best experiences, I also feel that my losses have been more important than my wins.
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-JUST DO IT! MMA training is the most empowering experience and one that you should not let pass you by. There is nothing like knowing and truly feeling you can protect and defend yourself with the skills you can learn from this art form. You can start with one discipline too, you don’t have to jump right into ground and pound action and full on sparring, start with a beginner class in Kickboxing or Jiu-jitsu and research the school you are interested in. Speak with other students and ask them about their personal experiences. You can get into the best shape of your life learning these disciplines as well. There is an endless supply of learning and because MMA is constantly evolving you will never be bored. If you are a woman who tends to give up on herself and not commit to working out or exercise, then this is the BEST artform for you, because it’s all about the discipline you can learn from your Instructors which in turn provides you with the most important thing you need to succeed in life, SELF DISCIPLINE! It’s all about never giving up and persevering and since life is often a series of adversities, you need to have the self-discipline to endure, to thrive, to overcome, and to be successful at anything you want to do in your life. Now, I can say this because I have had excellent coaches and Instructors and an incredibly encouraging environment at Tiger Schulmann’s MMA; so do your homework before you chose your school and ask all the questions you want answers to.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-My sister, Rofiah, is the most important and significant inspiration in my MMA life. Master Tiger Schulmann has been one of my most influential inspirations in martial arts. Aside from my sister and Master Schulmann, I have to say that the students (children and adults) who train in our Tiger Schulmann schools constantly inspire me to keep forging ahead. I am so fortunate to see their personal evolutions and in seeing them I am always humbled and motivated. There is nothing quite like watching this amazing artform through the eyes of a 5 year old or a 70 year old. I am thankful to be a teacher as well as a student of martial arts.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-I have always enjoyed watching Sarah Kaufmann, Julie Kedzie, Tara LaRosa, Gina Carano, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Frankie Edgar, Louis Gaudinot, Lyman Good, Jimmie Rivera, and Julio Arce (I want to be him when I grow up). To be frank, I do not have one particular favorite because each is incredibly unique.
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting?
-Spending time with my nieces, nephews, and siblings is the greatest pleasure I have with my free time. I also love to read books; I enjoy getting lost in a great story and letting my imagination run wild.
For those who will inquire we have a couple questions for the male readership as well.
Are you single?
-No, I am married.
What are your turn-ons?
What are your turnoffs?
What would you say is your best feature?
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?
-I want to win the Title for the 125 lb weight class with Invicta FC.
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-Team Tiger Schulmann’s MMA; Master Tiger Schulmann; Master Ron Schulmann; my husband – Paul Querido; Ben Hoffman of In Motion Meals (my nutrition expert and maker of delicious food); Tigear (equipment and uniform specialists); Sofia Gegovic; Jackie Nielson; Jenna Serio; Ray Velez (incredible boxing coach); Rusty Read (wrestling super coach); Jason Lopez; Nick Pace; Robert Villafane; and Jimmie Rivera (all tremendously supportive coaching staff). Doctor Peter Berger (Hawthorn, NJ), the most excellent Chiropractor.
Thank you very much for your time Munah and good luck on fight night! Click here to purchase tickets to Invicta FC 7, click here to purchase the iPPV or you can order the PPV through your local cable TV provider. Send your shout outs to Munah on Instagram and Twitter!