Shelby Strong ready to make mixed martial arts debut at Art of War
Shelby Strong makes her amateur mixed martial arts debut at Art of War Cage Fighting 1, April 28, at the Lanco Fieldhouse in East Petersburg, PA.
Strong, 34, takes on Bec Evans who is also making her debut. The card is being promoted by Mike Bickings who is new to the promoter’s side of the house. We caught up with Strong to discuss a variety of topics to include the fight, training, and a few things you don’t hear very often from fighters.
When asked what she knows about her opponent, Strong said:
“I typically wouldn’t go up a weight class because I’m kind of small. I decided to go up to 135 for the fight. I don’t really know much about her. I know that she is a school teacher. I know that she has studied Jiu-Jitsu for 16 months. I have a lot of respect for her. I’m not sure what she’s gonna bring to the table but regardless I’m ready for whatever.”
On being a mother of not one, not two, not three, but four children:
“I’ve been training for seven years, as well as my son, my son’s the youngest, he’s 10 now, he’ll be 11 in May. I dealt with a lot of domestic violence with his father. One day in ’06 or ’07, he put his hands on me and I snapped and made him unrecognizable. And at that point I knew that I couldn’t be blacking out anymore. I needed to get my ass up and do something. But because I always knew that I had it in me, it’s in my blood, it’s in my gene pool, and I don’t like hurting people for the fun of it. I train with Chris Appleton, he’s my coach right now. I train Muay Thai, I train boxing, I train Judo, I’ve trained Jiu-Jitsu. I used to train with someone that’s in the Guinness Book of World Records, he has the most triangles in the ring. He wanted me to go straight pro because of how flexible I am at what I do. Like I said, I train with Chris Appleton. There’s a couple of girls that I train in self defense and stuff. The one girl the other day she picked me up, and I kind of just swung my legs around her and choked her out. I find training fun, it’s just something I like to do.”
Any jitters going into your first fight?
“Not really. I’m kind of used to the spotlight being on me. Since when I was a kid, I was an opera singer and in a Wheaties commercial. So I don’t get scared. There’s really nobody out there that can really scare me so basically I’m gonna go in there and it’s me versus her but it’s essentially me versus myself. I don’t know it’s actually trying to prove something to myself. I’ve fought in the cage before. This is just different because I’m going up a weight class I guess, to see if I can do it. If I can fight at 135 while I’m 5’4″ and walk around usually from 126 to 133, then it’s going to be a lot.”
Brains Over Brawn
“I actually have 122 credits out of 160 for my Bachelor’s of Science is in Psychology, Applied Behavioral Analysis and I minored in Criminal Justice. My belief is that fighting is 75 percent psychological. If you psych your opponent out, then basically the fight almost done and over with. Then comes technique and whatever else. If you scare a person before they even get in that ring with you, then it’s basically over for them because if they think they are gonna lose, they are gonna lose.”
“Right now I’m actually going to school. I ‘m going to keep on fighting all summer and hopefully make enough money to finish up my schooling. I’m gonna pay for the rest of my school with my fighting. I’m just busy. I don’t know, I just figure it out. I’m the type of girl that just makes things happen. All my friends will say that I’m very determined and very independent. I don’t really look upon anybody for any help.”
Fight Club Roots
“My grandfather Jack Armbruster. He’s kind of a big name, actually the Armbruster name is a big name period. I knew about it when I was younger. Was going to fight for him. It was illegal. I can’t even say it was legal, but he would also do ‘Tough Man’ competitions. Him and my uncle Myron, who was just murdered a few months ago, they both had belts from the ‘Tough Man’ competitions. It’s in our genes, it’s in our blood. It’s just something that we do. And I think I’m the only girl in the family that fights.
“I’m not really much of a trash talker. I don’t like to trash talk. I have good sportsmanship. I’m excited to see what she’s got to bring to the table. Win, lose, or draw we are both going to learn something. I’m excited to meet her and as I said, she’s a school teacher. I have a lot of respect for her, and I hope she has the same respect for me. When we get in that cage, I’m gonna try and make it short and sweet.”