Ahead of her return against Amber Leibrock, Amanda Bell discusses her time off, the featherweight division and sounds off against the UFC.
It is always interesting, sometimes amusing, how daily life constantly reminds me of combat sports. Ahead of my interview with Bellator fighter Amanda Bell (5-5; 1-1 BMMA) I had to push back my interview an hour because my loyal dynamic duo of dachshunds decided to tango with a full-grown husky being held back by, if I had to harbor a guess, an atomweight. After that I was more than ready to chat with Bell who has seen her fair share of battles both in and outside of the cage.
Bell returns to the cage following more than a year layoff after a loss to Talita Nogueira back in 2017. The turn around for Bell was quick, at just over five weeks after defeating Brittney Elkin in her Bellator debut. But fights weren’t always as plentiful for the featherweight.
“It looked like the featherweight division was thinning out,” said Bell.
“I was concerned with whether I was going to be happy when I was with Invicta. And I saw the way they were paired up with the UFC. And how their fighters seemed to have their contracts get bought out. And they go and jump to that state of commotion,” Bell continued.
Before her contract with Bellator there wasn’t much on the horizon for the weight division outside of Cris Cyborg and whomever was willing to fight Cyborg. Bell also wasn’t the biggest fan of the UFC.
“I wanted nothing to do with them and I still don’t,” Bell exclaimed.
“I despise the UFC, I hate Dana White and I will never *ever* sign with that company cause for me it seemed like ‘God, am I going to have to do this to keep my career going?’ So I was really happy to see Bellator start to build the division where they gave me hope for my own career and my own advancement,” she finished.
Make no mistake about it, though, the fight community is still relatively new and while she isn’t a fan of the promotion, she understands the necessity of it.
“I know there are good people who are in the UFC, like my friend Roxanne [Modafferi] who is an amazing person,” Bell stated.
“To get as far as she and can and fight as long as she can. It sucks to see such good people that I do know that are involved in the debauchery of the UFC,” Bell continued.
But now, Bell has had enough time to take a much needed break and come back focused on her next opponent, Amber Leibrock. Ahead of her bout, Bell credited an adjustment to her game from a fellow Invicta veteran, Shayna Baszler.
“A big part of why I feel so ready, mentally ready, is I think wrestling does that for you,” claimed Bell.
“Its a lot faster and more intense than just jiu-jitsu … Years ago, when I had my pro debut in Invicta, Shayna Baszler gave me a piece of advice, ‘I think you need to go somewhere a high school or college, any place that has mats, and just wrestle. Just wrestle.’ And that was years ago when she gave me that advice. I can finally see what Shayna was saying years ago,” she went on.
With Leibrock standing in her way, and both coming off losses, what will be the key to success for Bell?
“We saw some holes in her game, but shit I have holes in my game too,” Bell admitted.
“I go in thinking that she’s going to bring the hardest fight she has available. I expect her to come in wanting that win just as bad as I do,” said Bell.
You can catch Amanda Bell vs. Amber Leibrock at Bellator 215 on Friday Feb. 15 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncansville, CT.
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