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WMMA Pioneer Zoila Frausto Talks Dream Fights, Mike Tyson's Influence and High School Sports Stardom

WMMA Pioneer Zoila Frausto Talks Dream Fights, Mike Tyson’s Influence and High School Sports Stardom

More than two years have now passed since the last time Zoila Frausto stepped into a cage for a professional mixed martial arts fight. “The Warrior Princess” amassed a 13-5 pro MMA record in a career that spanned from 2009-2016. reporter Tony Reid caught up with Frausto to discuss her efforts to pave the way from women competing in the sport.

Tony Reid – If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?

Zoila Frausto – “That had to be my fight with Rosi Sexton. It was my first fight in Bellator. She was going into the 115 pound tournament that Bellator was putting together. I was brought in to be her warm up fight. It was a catch weight at 120 pounds. They brought me in to be run over by her. It didn’t work out that way. She was the number one contender at 125 pounds. I think she was number three pound for pound at the time. By the two minute mark I had knocked her out. That was one of the biggest knockouts in women’s MMA and by far my biggest fight and win to date. It was a pretty big accomplishment for me at the time.”

TR – You are the first and only female champion in Bellator history. Being a pioneer in many ways what are your thoughts on the seemingly daily growth of WMMA?

ZF – “I knew it would happen but I didn’t think it would happen while I was still fighting. I thought it would pick up well after I was out and done. It has been amazing how fast it has grown and how big it is getting. It’s amazing.”

TR- We have recently seen far more women on TUF and even an all-women’s season. What are your thoughts on an all women cast of characters in the house?

ZF – “I think it’s pretty cool. It’s giving the fans something different. Especially when we are talking about women fighting, the public still seems a bit unsure about the whole thing. It shows how talented women in MMA really are. There will definitely be a lot more drama in that house but it shows that we do belong in MMA. It’s great to have a 115 pound title and a bunch of great women in the UFC.”

TR – Hypothetically, if you could fight anyone in any weight class who would you choose to fight and why?Zoila Frausto

ZF – “Who wouldn’t want to fight Ronda (Rousey)? I would have fought her at 135 but she has an obvious strength advantage. To fight her around 115, if she were be a bit closer to that weight class that would be fun. She is a crazy athlete and amazing in so many ways. It would be a dream for me to fight her at a weight class closer to mine. But at 135 she’s a damn beast. To go up to her weight class I would have to knock her out pretty quickly for things to go my way!”

TR – As you came up there were fewer opportunities for women in the sport. Do you ever wonder if you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist what would you be doing for a living?

ZF – “Since I was a kid I knew I was going to be doing something in the athletic field. I always wanted to be a professional athlete. I just never knew what it was. My dad pushed me in every single sport until we found which one I liked. I thought it might be professional soccer player at one point but I knew whatever it was it was going to be something to do with athletics. I worked in gyms for years. I actually worked in a casino up until my fifth pro fight. As soon as I tried my hand at boxing and then Muay Thai, it was probably right around a year after I started training that I took my first pro fight. That’s when I realized that this is what I wanted to do and this is what I want to dedicate my life to.”

TR – So you said you played every sport, do you mean every sport?

ZF – “Everything from volleyball to basketball. I ran track and field. I was a four year varsity lettermen in cross country, soccer and track and field. I was a star athlete in every sport I could possibly touch or do. I attribute that to my dad. If we were busy doing something he would have us run a race on a Saturday. He would always keep us busy in some athletic endeavor. I even played some college ball, soccer, in Fresno. I got a little injury there and took some time off. I was getting bored with soccer. I found myself being more aggressive on the soccer field. I was being mean. I needed another outlet. I trained at a gym and jumped into the boxing class. From that point on I was training boxing and Muay Thai every day and took my first fight about a year later. The rest is history!”

TR – As a fan, who are your favorite fighters to watch and why?

ZF – “Anderson Silva was always a guy I wanted to watch. He is a huge figure in the sport and I always enjoyed watching his fights.”

TR – What is the best thing nobody knows about you?

ZF – “The only thing I can think of is that I’m a lover and a fighter! I might be pretty mean in there but I’m a big teddy bear, too.”

TR – Best advice you could give to a younger you?

ZF – “Think before you speak. I got in a lot of trouble saying a lot things before I even thought about it.”

TR – Best inspiration to fight?

ZF – “It’s always been Mike Tyson. I always watched Mike Tyson highlights and motivational videos of him and been really inspired. It has always been Mike Tyson. I have always tried to emulate that raw, mean, nasty style of fighting. I’m really inspired by his fighting style.”

TR – Best memory from your first fight?

ZF – “Just feeling so ready. I seriously thought I was going to be super nervous and that everything was going to get to me but it didn’t. I remember this adrenaline rush and just feeling so ready. I think it was the adrenaline that got me hooked more than anything.”

TR – What was the best moment in your career so far?

ZF – “My first Muay Thai fight back in the game. I had three losses back to back in MMA. I had a few personal issues to work thorough. I was right on the verge of retirement. Going into that fight and doing as well as I did, just feeling the love I still had for combat sports, that was the biggest push, the biggest motivation, knowing I still had it. That was the best memory I had so far.”

TR – Who has been your best opponent?

ZF – “Megumi Fuji. I went 25 minutes with her. I still to this day don’t know how I did it. When it comes to intelligence, she has to be the smartest fighter I have ever fought. She was 22-0 up to that point. That was the toughest fight I ever had.”

TR – What is the best way to get ready before a fight?

ZF – “It goes back to the whole Mike Tyson thing. I take my I-pad into the locker room, where we are warming up, and I will listen to his interviews, watch his fights and get ready. That and music. I listen to music and right before I walk out I turn into something else. I don’t even know what it is. I feel like I’m completely unstoppable. When I put those two together (Tyson and music) and start hitting pads, I turn into this crazy animal before I walk out. When it comes to music I listen to modern day hip hop like Jay-Z and Kanye.”

TR – What was your best job before becoming a fighter?

ZF – “I was a dealer at a casino. I dealt cards. It was easy money. I was around adults all day so the adult jokes and conversation and hearing about people’s lives that was fun. I really enjoyed hearing people’s stories.”

TR – Best lesson life has handed you?

ZF – “I have had so many of them. Just pick the people I let into my wife a little wiser. Be more cautious with who I let into my life.”

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