A cyclone will hit Kansas City, Missouri on July 21 and its name is Stephanie Alba. The “Cyclone” as she is nicknamed, will be making her second appearance under the Invicta FC banner at Invicta FC 30 and will be in search of her first win while fighting for the promotion when she faces Alyse Anderson. Alba has a record of 3-2 and one no contest and has fought some of the toughest atomweight competition in the world. She has had battles with the likes of Ashley Cummins, Alesha Zappitella and Paulina Granados.
The 36-year-old atomweight fighter has been involved in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts since she was 22 years old but fighting had been a part of her life long before then. Part of it was that she was bullied in high school, that’s where she says she got her feistiness from, because she never backed down.
“I fought in school, that’s a thing, I did fight in school. I think that’s what created the feistiness because I did get bullied a lot. I went to a huge high school. I guess I always had a chip on my shoulder from getting bullied.”
Though she got her feistiness from being bullied in high school, Alba has always had fighting in her blood. Her grandfather Sam Padron, was a pro boxer and she remembers fondly seeing him hitting the bag when he was retired and that is extremely proud to carry on her family’s fighting legacy.
“I remember going to his house, he would be working out and hitting the bag. My mother and her siblings were known as the children of the boxer.”
Alba started off her professional career strong, winning her first three fights, including a submission win over Maria Lopez. However, since then, she has hit a rough patch that has seen her lose two fights and one become a no contest. Though she gives her opponents complete credit for winning the bouts, Alba admits that she wasn’t herself as she was overcoming tragedy in her life. The murder of her sister.
“I had a lot of traumatic events the past couple of fights, it was definitely mental. I know when you go to work you try to separate all that stuff. But the controversy was still there. Unless you have to have a hundred percent, focus going into the cage it’s going to affect you. I was able to turn it around before but life just hit me. “
“My mother passed away and then I had my sister passed away, she actually got murdered, it was just very traumatic. I think that reflected in the cage, some people can overcome that and I was always the one that would be able to fight through those kinda of things and that’s why I kinda started fighting, because of life.”
“I think the past couple of fights, I think subconsciously in my head in my head and I think I went into stage mode instead of fighting through.”
When she looks back at those performances, Alba doesn’t recognize the fighter that was in the cage and she believes that she is capable of much more.
“When these things happen you go and you look back and you’re like, that’s not me, that’s not who I am as a fighter.”
Describing it as “being in a cloud” during that time period, knowing she was training and fighting but not all there mentally, Alba has been working on the mental side of the sport before her upcoming fight against Alyse Anderson at Invicta FC 30 on July 21.
Alba is using her wrestling coach’s mental preparation, including using worksheets to write out feelings on subjects such as: strengths and weaknesses as well as how do you feel if someone writes an article on you that you don’t like. She is also practicing visualization on her own to help her prepare.
Through it all, it became clear that she has the fortitude to move forward and now she is looking to overcome the tragedies and create something positive out of it and even inspire others.
“These are the reasons people fight, this is the fire that keeps them going. A lot of people were like, “did you ever think of quitting or taking a break?” I was like, no never, I knew if I persevered through hard times, it wasn’t going to last forever. I would love to be an inspiration to other people. A lot of other fighters have done that for me.”
“The biggest thing for me now, is not living in the past, not just thinking about the past, not being a victim, but overcoming it.”
The fight itself is a fight that has been in the making for a while, Anderson had asked for the fight previously but it wasn’t the right timing for Alba so she declined, making it clear she picks the fights on her terms. At the time, either the timing or the money wasn’t right. And the call out didn’t bother her, in fact she likes it.
“I like when girls call me out to fight cause it’s like, oh you really think you can beat me.”
The W4R Training Center product wants a finish for this fight and believes the lack of tough opponents her opponent has faced is to her benefit since Alba has faced tough fighters and UFC veterans like Jamie Moyle.
“I want a submission or a TKO, I really think I can do that. She’s not specialized in any one thing.”
“I see her record and I don’t think she’s fought anyone tough. I don’t if she’s picking her fights or how it works. I never pick fights. If the time is right, if the opportunity is right I take it and it doesn’t matter.”
For this camp, Alba has been training with Olympic wrestlers like Randi Miller, high school wrestlers and pro WMMA fighters like Tonya Evinger and Carla Hernandez.
Also on this card is the atomweight championship bout between Jinh Yu Frey and Minna Grusander. Alba believes Frey will take the belt and though she might not get the title shot with a victory at Invicta 30, she has her eyes on being at the top of the division.
“I want to win this fight so I can stay on top and prove that I belong up there.”