Valentina DeConza, Team Chamber MMA’s first and only female fighter, sat down with me to give MyMMANews.com an inside scoop on her mixed martial arts career so far, the night of her first fight and victory, and her future plans in MMA.
“WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST FULFILLING ABOUT MIXED MARTIAL ARTS?”
“MY WHOLE LIFE I GUESS I WAS JUST PUT DOWN AND TOLD I COULDN’T BE WHO I WANTED TO BE, WHETHER IT WAS MY INTERESTS, WHO I AM, OR MY SEXUALITY, BECAUSE I AM A LESBIAN AND IT WAS ALWAYS ‘NO, NO, NO.’ SO WHETHER IT WAS WHAT I WANTED TO GO TO COLLEGE FOR, OR WHO I AM AS A PERSON, I WAS TOLD BY MANY PEOPLE, NOT JUST ONE, JUST EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE THAT I COULDN’T BE. SO MY WHOLE LIFE WAS JUST A FACADE, AND I WAS JUST WHOEVER THEY WANTED ME TO BE. AND WHEN I CAME HERE, YOU CAN ASK COACH, YOU CAN ASK ANYBODY, I WAS THIS KID THAT STAYED IN THE CORNER. AND AS I GREW HERE, I GREW OUTSIDE AS WELL, I BECAME A MORE CONFIDENT AND HAPPIER PERSON.”
“WHEN DID YOU BEGIN YOUR TRAINING?”
“IT WAS 2012, SO ABOUT TWO YEARS, RIGHT AROUND. BUT I NEVER DID ANYTHING BEFORE THAT. LIKE NEVER-I WAS JUST A TOTAL NEWBIE. SO THESE PAST TWO YEARS IS ALL THAT I’VE HAD. I FELT LIKE WHEN I CAME INTO IT, I THOUGHT YOU KNOW, I DON’T THINK THEY’LL REALLY RECOGNIZE ME AS A FIGHTER, IT’S JUST SOMETHING TO DO. BUT COACH WAS TALKING TO ME ABOUT IT, AND THEY NEVER HAD A FEMALE FIGHTER FOR CHAMBER, SO I COULD HAVE BEEN AND NOW I AM THE FIRST FEMALE FIGHTER FOR CHAMBER.”
“DO YOU THINK THAT TRAINING HAS BECOME MORE OR LESS OF A CHALLENGE OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS?”
“MY FIRST CHALLENGE, NOT BEING AFRAID TO GET HIT. AND THEN, THERE IS JUST ONE CHALLENGE AFTER ANOTHER. AND THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO SET THE BAR TO. AFTER THE FIRST HITS, THE FIRST FEW KICKS, THE FIRST FEW THIS THAT, YOU BECOME… I DON’T WANNA SAY ‘IMMUNE’ TO IT, BUT MORE ACCUSTOMED TO IT. THERE’S ALWAYS A CHALLENGE, AND THAT’S ALWAYS GOOD.”
“LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FIGHT IN YOUR OWN WORDS.”
“THERE’S ACTUALLY A LOT OF EMOTIONS; RIGHT BEFORE I ACTUALLY WENT IN, YOUR DOWNSTAIRS AND THERE’S A CURTAIN BASICALLY BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR OPPONENT. I HEARD HER PRACTICING HER PUNCHES ON THE PADS WITH HER COACH, AND IT DIDN’T HONESTLY SOUND LIKE ANYTHING TO ME. IT SOUNDED LIKE I’VE GOTTEN HIT WORSE THAN THAT FROM THE GUYS. SO I’M NOT GONNA LIE, I WAS A LITTLE COCKY BECAUSE I’M LIKE ‘ALRIGHT, IF SHE PUNCHES ME, I DONT CARE, IT’S NOT GONNA HURT.
SO MY FIRST ROUND WHEN I WENT IN, I WAS EXPECTING HER PUNCHES TO NOT REALLY BOTHER ME. SO THAT’S Y WHEN SHE CAME WITH THE BACKHAND AND GOT ME AND I WENT DOWN, I WASN’T EXPECTING IT, BUT I GOT RIGHT BACK UP CAUSE THAT’S WHEN I KNEW SHE HAD SOMETHING TO BRING.
WHEN THE FIRST ROUND ENDED, I FELT NERVOUS AND JUST A LITTLE SCARED CAUSE WAS MY FIRST FIGHT SO I WASN’T SURE IF I WASN’T EVEN DOING GOOD. I FELT LIKE I WAS ACTUALLY DOING BAD. BUT COACH SAID I WAS DOING GOOD, AND HE’S DEFINITELY A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM AND TOLD ME TO KEEP GOING WITH IT. AND TOLD ME THE EXACT COMBOS TO HIT, AND I LISTENED TO HIM AND THAT’S HOW I ENDED UP GETTING THE KNOCK OUT.”
“WHERE DO YOU INTEND TO TAKE YOUR MMA CAREER?”
“MY FIRST FIGHT WAS ACTUALLY A DETERMINING FACTOR OF IF I WANTED TO CONTINUE
TO FIGHT OR NOT. AND I DON’T THINK IT DEPENDED ON IF I WON OR LOST, IT DEPENDED ON HOW I FELT AND HOW IT FELT AFTER WHETHER I WON OR LOST… IF MY TEAMMATES WERE THERE, IF THEY HAD MY BACK, TOLD ME ‘YOU HAVE SOMETHING, YOU HAVE A SKILL, YOU HAVE TALENT, YOU SHOULD KEEP GOING.
AFTER THAT FIRST FIGHT, I DEFINITELY WANT TO DO MY SECOND. I THINK I’M GONNA TAKE IT STEP BY STEP. SO IF YOU WERE TO ASK ME RIGHT NOW IN THIS POSITION, I’D SAY YEAH I’LL GO ALL THE WAY.”
“WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE YOUR NEXT FIGHT?”
“COACH SAID IN NOVEMBER, I THINK IT’S THE FIFTEENTH, SHERMAN’S HAVING ANOTHER FIGHT SO HE’S GONNA TRY AND ROUND UP A FIGHT FOR ME. THAT WOULD BE MY NEXT ONE.”
On behalf of MyMMANews.com, I would like to thank Valentina DeConza for dedicating her time immediately after a training session, and thank the entire Chamber MMA Team for being so kind and generous.
The largest sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has just announced that middleweight contender Marcin Prachnio has suffered an injury and is out of ONE: QUEST FOR POWER. The blockbuster fight card will, however, proceed as scheduled for 14 January at the Jakarta Convention Center. In the main event, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash will defend his title against Prachnio’s replacement, “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar.
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Invicta FC 21 – Megan Anderson vs Charmaine Tweet
Invicta FC 21: Anderson vs. Tweet streams live and exclusively via UFC FIGHT PASS at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Jan. 14. The event takes place at the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.
Featherweight: Charmaine Tweet (9-5) vs. Megan Anderson (7-2) Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-2) Bantamweight: Pannie Kianzad (8-1) vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi (5-5) Bantamweight: Sijara Eubanks (2-1) vs. Aspen Ladd (4-0) Flyweight: Andrea Lee (4-2) vs. Jenny Liou (6-4) Flyweight: Heather Hardy (0-0) vs. Brieta Carpenter (0-0) Strawweight: Amy Montenegro (7-2) vs. Celine Haga (10-13) Flyweight: Rachael Ostovich (3-2) vs. Christina Ferea (0-0)
UFC Fight Night 103 features the return of the legend B.J. Penn as he takes on Yair Rodriguez on Sunday, January 15 at Talking Stick Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Main Card Yair Rodriguez vs. B.J. Penn Joe Lauzon vs. Marcin Held Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders Jimmie Rivera vs. Bryan Caraway
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1) John Moraga vs. Sergio Pettis Frankie Saenz vs. Augusto Mendes Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Viktor Pešta lex White vs. Tony Martin
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass) Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Nina Ansaroff Devin Powell vs. Drakkar Klose Walt Harris vs. Chase Sherman Joachim Christensen vs. Bojan Mihajlović Dmitri Smoliakov vs. Cyril Asker
Combate Americas Mexico City will include a bantamweight (135) main event between rising stars Steve Swanson (14-2) and Gustavo Lopez (6-2) – for the league’s much-anticipated, historic debut in Mexico on Thursday, Jan. 19, live on Azteca America (10 p.m. ET/PT) and UFC FIGHT PASS® (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Bellator 170 takes place at the Forum in Los Angeles, California and is headlined by mixed martial arts legends Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz.
Fight card Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen Paul Daley vs. Brennan Ward Ralek Gracie vs. Hisaki Kato Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez Derek Campos vs. Derek Anderson
Preliminary card (MyMMANews.com) Chinzo Machida vs. Jamar Ocampo Jack May vs. Dave Cryer Henry Corrales vs. Cody Bollinger Kevin Casey vs. Keith Berry Guilherme Vasconcelos vs. John Mercurio Gabriel Green vs. Jalin Turner Christian Gonzalez vs. Danial Rodriguez Jacob Rosales vs. Ian Butler Johnny Cisneros vs. Curtis Millender Mike Segura vs. Tommy Aaron Rob Gooch vs. James Ba Rebecca Ruth vs. Colleen Schneider