Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Ashlee Evans-Smith Interview
Ashlee Evans-Smith is getting ready for a huge fight vs Taylor Stratford for Tuff N Uff. It's an amateur title fight. A fight she has worked hard for and deserves a shot at. Her story is very similar to others as to how she started training for the sport. What isn't similar is her passion for training, which comes across very easily in this interview. She seems ready and able to train just as hard, if not harder than anyone. The kind of attitude that is going to take her very far in the sport.
Q: First, Ashlee I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: No, thank YOU for giving me the chance to talk to the MMA world and put myself out there.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: You are about to find out a whole bunch of stuff… :-)
Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: I wasn’t athletic as a kid by any means. My whole childhood I was a little tom-boy who loved to play outside games like kick-ball, tag or red-rover but I never played any organized type of sports. I started to get chunky at the age of 13 and was just an awkward chunky girl until I started wrestling in High School when I was a sophomore.
Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: After my college wrestling career I was a little lost and confused on what I wanted to do with my life and sports specifically. I was low on money so I joined a club women’s rugby team in East Palo Alto, Ca. close to where I lived and had gone to college. I ended up meeting my now coach, Eugene Jackson, who was our conditioning coach for rugby. He noticed I was wearing a wrestling t-shirt as we were training and that I was working hard. He had just opened a non-profit youth reach in the area based around MMA and asked me if I wanted to come train and I’ve been training under him and loving it ever since.
Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: When I first started training we focused heavily on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had a strong wrestling base so being on the ground was a little natural it was just a matter of tweaking this and that. Submissions are an amazing aspect of my ground game that I picked up fairly easily but I still have so much to learn and I am focusing on making transitions from grappling to a submission second nature.
Striking and kicks are something that took a little longer to get the hang of. However my coach says I should have been a boxer instead of a wrestler since my boxing is coming along nicely. Kicks are icing on the MMA cake for me. I’m not a Muay Thai girl so kicks are never my first card played but I feel so happy to be able to bring them out when the right fight or opponent calls for it.
Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I trained for 5 months before my first fight. It seems a little soon when I talk to other fighters but my coach said was ready and I felt ready myself. I’ve been fighting one fight a month since my first fight this past October and even two a month with my most recent 7 days apart from each other. Nothing feels better than being in that cage.
Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: I’ve been lucky to have so many supportive people in my life who think fighting is exactly the sport for me. Anyone who knows my background or my personality would say that I was made for this sport…or this sport was made for me. You choose. I think the only person who really was against it at first but changed their opinion later, was my grandfather. I doubt you will find many grandfathers who are 100% o.k with their little girl taking the chance of getting pummeled by another woman in a steal cage though. Like I said, he changed his mind when he realized I was very passionate about it just lke I was wrestling but told me he refuses to come see me fight just because he said he might have a “heart attack.” lol
Q: Where do you train at now?
A: I train with my fight team “Undisputed Gladiators” in San Carlos, Ca. at our now home gym Undisputed Boxing Gym. We trained previously in East Palo Alto.
Q: Can you give your overall record so far?
A: My overall record is (4-2-0). Next fight March 12th. 2011 in Las Vegas, Nv. Tuff n Uff 145lb championship fight against Taylor Stratford for the belt!
Q: Which fight so far is the one you are most proud of?
A: I am very proud of all my fights because I see a progression in my technique, confidence in the cage and overall performance. However, the one I’m most proud of is my most recent. Even though I lost I saw an evolution in myself that made me realize that every day I am getting better and better as with ever fight. I know that a year from now I will truly be a force to be reckoned with.
Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: My biggest strength is my heart. I need to work on my diet-no one loves food more than me. lol
Q: What is the best part and the worst part about training and fighting?
A: The worst part about training are those days that your body is screaming at you to just rest but your mind and heart tell you to get in the gym and push through it. The best part about training…those same exact days that you pushed though. At the end of the day, there is no better feeling. The worst part about fighting is losing. It’s the risk we all take and man, is it a big downside….you would think that I would say the best part about fighting is winning, but it’s not. It’s just knowing that you have put your heart into something so much and so long and knowing that just stepping into that cage means your doing what you love. <3
Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: I know it sounds cheesy but I LOVE to watch one of my best friends fight-Carla Esparza. We have been friends since our freshman year of college and I don’t think there is any better feeling than to see someone you love fight their heart out. I think that’s why I’d rather watch any one of my team mates fight than go to a UFC fight any day.
Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A: In no specific order-Cris “Cyborg” Santos-Marloes Coenen-Megumi Fuji-Sarah Kaufman and Miku Matsumoto.
Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women’s only company being viable?
A: Yes-No question about it. Look how fast and far WMMA has come in the past TWO years. What WMMA is going to do next will baffle everyone.
Q: Often you watch a show that has one women's fight. Somehow that fight always turns out to be the most exciting fight on the card. Why do you think that is?
A: I think spectators just want a good show whether it’s a male or female fight. If the female show was more entertaining than the male than maybe we should just give the ladies a little more credit for being technical, aggressive and entertaining.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: That we are a bunch of lesbian, feminist, bruts. Haha I don’t know. Say what you will about us, we just love to fight!
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, whats the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: You will cry…often. Deal with it, and keep going. It’s worth it and it will all pay off in the end.
Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I have loved punk-rock since I was in high school and I don’t get to go to shows as often anymore but there is nothing more fun to me than going to see a good band with friends.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Ashlee Evans-Smith?
A: I wake up at 8am-pack my gym bag, eat breakfast and brush my teeth. I’m at the gym by 9am. I train from 9am-11am. I work a part time as a waitress from 11am-4pm weekdays and then I’m back at the gym by 5pm. Night time is where the real hard happens. Most nights I don’t leave the gym until 9pm. Shower-eat dinner-brush my teeth (gotta have clean chompers!) and hit the sack by 11pm if I’m lucky! Set the alarm to do it all again the next day…don’t believe me? Come spend a day with me ;)
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: My family life was rough growing up-(drug abuse in my family-alcoholism-jail time) but like I feel with all hardships-It has made me the strong, tenacious woman I am today and that’s what matters.
Q: Describe Ashlee Evans-Smith in five words.
A: Tenacious. Stubborn. Dreamer. Investigative. Silly.
Q: So what’s next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: I fight March 12th 2011 in Las Vegas. Nv. for the Tuff n Uff 145lb women’s amateur belt. The first ever.
Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: One of my favorite quotes “How much do you really know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” –Tyler Durden from “Fight Club”
Everyone should be in a fight just once in their life. I hope the sport of MMA as well as WMMA just keeps growing and becomes America’s favorite past time.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Ashlee Evans-Smith the fighter and person?
A: Yes, I am looking for sponsors. They can reach me through my Facebook and they would get a fighter who will stop at nothing to be a champion. Someone who’s willing to sacrifice much more than your average fighter and willing to break through any type of wall that life puts in her way.
Q: Ashlee again, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: No, I have said Sooooooo much already, thank you again for this opportunity!!