For roughly three quarters of her life, Rachael Penkower has been training in combat sports. This Saturday night at Genetti’s Hotel in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the 20-year old “Mighty Mouse” will look to make her third appearance in the cage when she meets Lauren Strausser. Penkowers tells MyMMANews that she began training at just five years old.
“I was mostly active in jiu jitsu growing up. But at around 14, I became more active in striking. I also joined the Marlboro High School wrestling team at 15-years-old, which I loved and it helped me take my skills to the next level.”
We caught up with Penkower ahead of the December 1, PA Cage Fight 34 card to talk shop.
MyMMANews – You are currently 1-1 as an amateur mixed martial artist. Your opponent is making her MMA debut. How was this fight presented to you and why did you choose to accept it?
Rachael Penkower – “After my last fight that I lost via decision, I was eager to work hard and get back into the cage for a win. A matchmaker reached out to me and I wanted to keep fighting as much as I can, so I took the fight.”
Where are you currently training?
“I currently train at Inferno TPC in marlboro NJ under Professor Steven Barnett.”
What is a typical day like for you? Work? Student? Training? Family?
“A typical day for me is strength training in the morning. Then head to Inferno (Training and Performance Center) to teach kids classes. After that I do all my MMA training. I also just graduated beauty school and will soon be working in a barber shop when i get my license.”
Both of you the two fights on your record went to a decision, one in favor, one against. What did you learn about yourself as a fighter from those two outings?
“As a fighter I learned that I needed to work on becoming a more well-rounded fighter and to switch up my game plan when needed so I can finish the fight early.”
You share the same nickname as former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson. How did you come to get the nickname ‘Mighty Mouse’?
“My dad was the first to call me ‘Mighty Mouse’ after watching me compete when I was a kid. Then everyone else started calling me it, so it just stuck.”
What do friends/family think about you competing? Was there ever any hesitation or concern?
“My friends and family have been supporting me since I started. Of course they always are a little nervous when I fight. But, they have a lot of confidence in me, which really feels great.”
How is the weight cut going for you now that we are actually in fight week?
“I actually walk around at about 107 pounds, so I don’t have to cut weight for my fights.”
What are some of the goals you are set to achieve in the sport? Do you have an idea in mind as to when you would like to go pro?
“I want to have a few wins under my belt, and a title or two. Then go pro when I feel that I am ready.”
Any coaches, teammates, sponsors you want to thank?
“Yes, thank you to all my coaches and teammates at Inferno for everything. Also, thank you to all my sponsors Tempura Kimonos, Kettlebell Korners, All Jersey Mechanical, and American Grappling Alliance for the continued support. It means so much to have all of you in my corner.”