Exclusive Roxanne Modafferi interview: nickname, next opponent, teaching job and much more
Roxanne Modafferi (23-15) is one of the best UFC flyweight division fighters, #5 of the official rankings. She is about to have a fight against UFC veteran Liz Carmouche in less than a month. Harcord team contacted Roxanne to know more on her next opponent, underdog status, her fighting philosophy, jiu-jitsu teaching and many more.
On her next opponent:
“I'm so excited to fight Liz. I know she's a very tough, talented fighter, and I'm looking forward to proving that I can overcome any challenges she brings in the fight. I'm always working to get stronger and more technical. I'll need everything in order to defeat her. I have to work my striking and wrestling game, of course.”
On her status as underdog and split decision in the fight against Antonina Shevchenko:
“I'm always an underdog so I don't think much of it anymore. I'm so unassuming - I don't look like a fighter - and my style isn't 'scary.' However, I can get the job done. I've never been beat up bloody or overwhelmed in a fight. I knew Antonina was dangerous on the feet, but I was confident that I could negate that with my grappling. I don't think a split decision was accurate because I never felt very hurt, but I'm grateful I got the win.”
On her reasons to stay away from striking style:
“I did years of the striking styles and thought it was so cool! I wanted to be a super hero and beat up the bad guys. Then I woke up one day and felt very enlightened and spiritual. I felt like hitting people was wrong, and I wanted to be able to defeat an opponent without hurting them or causing them pain. I told my mom this and she suggested Judo. From then on, I was very anti-violence and did Judo, and then jiujitsu.”
“I still don't enjoy kickboxing at all, but it's the only way I can do MMA and achieve my real goal: Prove I am strong and can win by submission, without hurting anyone. I had another revelation during watching a UFC with my Judo friends that made me want to go back to striking in order to try MMA.
On her teaching jiu-jitsu to young students:
“Quit my teaching job in Japan and I joined Syndicate MMA. My coach found out that I used to teach, and we needed an assistant teacher for the kids class, so I offered to help. Teaching jiujitsu is very different than teaching academics in a classroom, so I took my role very seriously. I studied and learned a lot on how to teach sports. When the main teacher was sick, I lead classes. Then, when the main teacher left the school, I was able to completely take over as the head teacher. I love it! I care so much about the kids, and I think they sense that.”
On what her students think about her UFC fights:
“All my students think it's really cool that I fight, and many of them watch my fights. I'm even more motivated to win my fights using good jiujitsu. After my last fight against Antonina, I said to one of my students, "Did you see that half guard pass I did in the fight?! I was trying to teach you that last week! You better try to use it!" He said, "Oh yeah! Okay I will!"
On UFC being better than other promotions:
“It's difficult to compare promotions, but the UFC is very organized and treats me very well. They also have the most resources, and the only promotion that has staff with walkie talkies running around.”
On whom she wants to fight or refight:
“I always want a rematch with people I've lost to, so that I can prove that I can really beat them. At this point, I fight who the match maker and my coach let me fight. I'm supposed to fight who's going to be best for my career, but I want to fight anybody in my weight class. Apparently Nicco Montano went up a weight class, so that might not be possible anymore.”
On her nickname:
“I got my nickname "The Happy Warrior" because I always try and look at the positive side of life in all situations. I wrote a blog one day on myspace, and it was ranting about some negative things. I finished the blog with "Well at least this great thing happened and at least (something else positive)." My mother taught me to always finish on a positive note, and be grateful for what I have. One of my fans wrote, "You are the Happy Warrior!" I loved it, so I took it as my name.”
Roxanne Modafferi had her last fight against Antonina Shevchenko in Saint Petersburg in April. Antonina was considered the topdog but thanks to her grappling Modafferi managed to win by split decision and enter top-5.