Randa Markos is in a tough position. The longtime UFC strawweight is coming off of a tough stretch of fights last year.
The Canadian strawweight has done everything she can to try and right her wrongs as she heads into her next contest. She has switched training camps and is currently in Texas with Travis Lutter.
The move was one that happened organically after she had a friend from Lutter’s camp ask her to come train with them. Markos was in need of training partners and had heard good things about the Texas-based camp.
“I was at a point in my life where I couldn’t really sit back and hope things will change by doing the same thing over and over,” Markos told MyMMANews. “With COVID getting so bad in Michigan and Canada, while everyone else is opening up Canada is shutting down. I don’t want to go through this I’d rather just take a chance. The opportunity opened up for me and I figured I have nothing to lose, I’m coming off of a pretty shitty streak and I need to change. I need to do whatever it takes to change it. I took his offer, and I came out to Texas.”
The move has been a positive one for Markos as she’s been able to work with high-level people in the gym. Learning from someone like Lutter has been very valuable, especially considering his high-level grappling skills.
“I love it,” Markos said of working with Lutter. “It’s been really great. I love working with Travis. He’s an amazing fighter he knows his wrestling, wall work, and jiu-jitsu. Everybody there has been really welcoming and awesome. I’m just taking in as much knowledge as I can and hoping for the best.”
In the past, Markos used to go to a variety of gyms in order to get different martial arts classes. She would do boxing in one gym, wrestling in another, and so on.
This was something not many fighters did since gyms now blend everything into one. The new way of doing things is training specifically for MMA and not separating the arts into categories.
“It’s been really great that I can do it all in one place,” Markos said. “With boxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and getting my rounds in. We’re also traveling to different places to get training partners and stuff. It’s a lot of stress off of my back. [From] having to figure things out constantly and having to figure out what I need to do and is it enough. With Travis and them they’ve been doing this a long time and I can trust them in their knowledge and experience. He’s been a fighter, he’s done this before, so he knows what he’s talking about. I’m able to relax go into one place. It’s really, really great.”
It may seem like Markos is the next MMA personality set to move to Texas. Joining the likes of Joe Rogan who famously moved to Austin last year.
However, moving from Canada to Texas is a big deal. The move may come eventually, but Markos needs to see how things play out in her upcoming fight, against Luana Pinheiro, first.
“It’s definitely crossed my mind, but I’m really focused on this next fight,” Markos said of moving to Texas. “I guess it all lies on this next fight. I’m just taking in what I can. I’m trying to absorb as much as I can. Really like letting my hands go and be myself too. Whatever happens, this fight will determine what happens next.”
Markos is set to return to the cage in February. The fight came as a surprise for her after going 0-3 in 2020.
The UFC tends to cut fighters after three losses in a row. The Canadian has an opportunity to get things back on track when she meets Pinheiro on May 1.
“I didn’t even think they were going to give me this fight,” Markos said. “Coming off of three losses I was like ‘man am I done? Are they going to give me another chance?’ and they did so I have to give it everything I’ve got. This could be it. If it is, I want to go down with a good fight. I really, really hate last year. I really hate everything that happened, and I don’t want to go down that way.”
There’s definitely pressure as she heads into this fight. How can there not be?
Markos has in the past admitted she felt like a lot of in-cage issues were mental. She had worked with a mental coach to help her get over certain problems.
She no longer works with one but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t learned anything. The focus going into this fight is all mental with confidence being very important.
“I’ve taken a lot from my mental coach and really focused on it and tried everything on it,” Markos said. “I’ve realized that for myself it’s work ethic. I work as hard as they’re willing to let me work. Travis and them have to stop me from working hard. The harder I work the more knowledge I get [and] the more confident I get. I think that has a lot to do with my confidence. I can tell myself I’m good a million times but if I’m not working to what I think is good for me [then] the confidence is not going to be there.
“I think it depends on the person. I’m very different. I was raised to be mentally strong, and I became mentally strong as I grew up. Things like this kind of messes with your head. If you don’t do what you think is best for you then the confidence can’t just pretend to be there. It has to be there because you physically feel it. That’s how I am.”
Now heading into her next fight, Markos has done everything she possibly can to be ready. Mentally and physically the Iraqi-born fighter has done the work.
It’s time to prove to everyone, and herself, that the sacrifices are worth it and that 2020 was only a blip on the radar. On May 1, it’s her chance to shine.
“There are a million ways obviously, but we don’t know how it’s going to come out in the fight,” Markos said. “I’m hoping that can blow you guys away and give you something you haven’t seen from me yet. That’s all I can say. I really hope that I come out with something you haven’t seen before.”