|Amanda Nunes in training|
Monday, December 13, 2010
Big Bad Blog interview with Amanda Nunes
Q: Fans always want to know how fighters started doing martial arts. I know your mom sent you and your sister to classes when you were children. Talk about that and how that progressed into a more serious interest in MMA.
A: I started training jujitsu when I was 16. I started training MMA when I was 19. I've always liked to fight even as a kid. I had my first pro fight not too long after I started training MMA. I'm only 22 years old so I am still learning.
Q: Some female fighters struggle with family agreeing with the decision to fight professionally. Obviously your mom is your biggest fan. How important is her support?
A: My family and my team have always been very supportive. My mom and sisters have come to all my fights that have been in my state of Bahia. Of course anything my mother says is very important to me.
Q: The other important people in your MMA career are Edson, Ricardo and Bruno Carvalho. When did you meet them? Talk about your progression under their tutelage, especially Bruno since I understand you train mostly with him.
A: I met Ricardo and Bruno when I was 16. Edson lives in New Jersey but comes back to Brazil at least 4 times a year so we built our bond through those visits. I live with Edson now that I'm staying in the USA. Edson and Ricardo are my masters and are like father figures to me. Bruno and I trained a lot in Bahia until Bruno's MMA career took him to Europe. He has lived there for the last couple years and has had much success and became champion in two different organizations. Bruno has a fight scheduled in Atlantic City for February so he will be making his American debut soon. I'm training with Sensei Edson and the New Jersey Team for this fight with Julia. But all of my training in the past has been with Sensei Riccardo in Brazil. I am a brown belt under Riccardo. He has even let me live at the dojo when I was in Bahia.
Q: You lost your first fight to Ana "India" Maria but you have won five straight fights. A lot of fighters lose their first fight and never fight again. What made you bounce back? And would you like another shot at Ana Maria?
A: Even in losing you learn something. I fight because I like to fight. So a loss wasnt going to change my mind about fighting. I would fight Ana again but it would have to be in Strikeforce now.
Q: The first time I heard of you was when you beat Vanessa Porto. It was thought to be an upset at the time because she's a veteran and you were unknown. But I finally saw you defeat then undefeated Ediane Gomes. I watched it live on Sherdog. Because of the visibility, is that your most important fight to date?
A: Yes they were both great victories for me. The Gomes fight is more well known because it got more TV and internet exposure.
Q: You're now training in New Jersey until February. It seems to me that despite Cris Cyborg's success, women fighters haven't made much progress in Brazil. Most of the promoters don't book women. You, Carina Damm and Claudia Gadelha are all currently training in the US. An elite fighter like Ana Michelle Tavares hasn't fought in almost three years. What's going on in Brazil?
A : I'm not sure. My problem with getting fights wasn't with promoters. It was with other fighters. There seems to be more opportunity in the states because there are a lot more shows and all the top fighters fight here.
Q: Of course the most famous female fighter from Brazil is Strikeforce 145lb Champ Cris Cyborg. What has her success meant to you? Have you met her?
A: Cris Cyborg is the ultimate goal.When I get to fight her I know all my hard work and sacrifice will pay off. But I still have a very tough fight in front of me so I don't like to talk about her.
Q: You have fought at 135 and 145lb. Which do you prefer?
A: I have fought both. I can get down to 135 but I take fights as they come along. So it doesn't matter to me. Strikeforce offered me a fight at 145 so I took it.
Q: Originally you supposed to fight Amanda Buckner in February. She had to drop out due to injury but the promotion has delayed the show until April. You have managed to get into a much more high profile Strikeforce fight that will be broadcast live across North America. I already knew about you but winning this fight will make you a star with MMA fans everywhere. Your thoughts?
A: I'm so excited to get this chance. I was disappointed when Buckner pulled out but it turned out to be a blessing because Strikeforce called my manager about a month later to sign me.
Q: Your opponent Julia Budd has one MMA fight but has an extensive and successful Muay Thai. record. She has the size edge but you have the edge in MMA experience. She was very impressive in her win over Shana Olsen who BTW has a Brazilian trainer. I know you don't watch video of your opponents but I'm sure Bruno does. Are you guys working on anything in particular? I just think she's the favourite because fans have seen her but they haven't seen you.
A: I do watch her fights. Everything on Youtube. We have a game plan for her but we just train to be a complete MMA fighter. But we do train certain techniques that we feel will work out well for us. She is a very tough fighter but that's why I came to America. I could fight tomorrow. I'm ready. I have a big fanbase in Brazil because of my fighting style so I will keep that going for the American fans. And I think by my second fight I will have a lot of new fans.
Q: I know you have to return to Brazil in February but do you plan to move to the US on a more permanent basis?
A: I have to go back in February but I will be back in the US soon after. Right now, I have a 10 year visa but with the Strikeforce contract maybe I can get a green card. We have a great new facilty at MARTIAL MAXX MMA Training Center in New Jersey. Team Carvalho has taken over their MMA/BJJ program to build the team bigger and for our fighters to train at a amazing new facility. So I want to come back as soon as I can but I do miss my family.
Q: Time for thank yous. Trainers, sponsors and I guess especially Strikeforce for giving you this opportunity.
A: I want to thank my master Edson Carvalho. He has changed my life. I'd like to thank my second mother Reem who is taking care of me in NJ. Thanks to my manager Chris for everything he does for me. Thanks everybody at Team Carvalho in Brazil and New Jersey for making me the fighter I am. Thanks to MARTIAL MAXX MMA/Golds Gym in Teteboro, NJ for giving me the best training facility I've ever had. We are still looking for sponsors. I will be on the televised card on Showtime so I'm hoping for some sponsors.