Monday, March 14, 2011
Jordan McDonald Interview
The old saying is "Don't judge a book by it's cover". With that saying in mind, meet Jordan McDonald. She is beautiful, but not your typical dumb beauty. In fact, Jordan was accepted into law school. She is however not going to law school. Because part two of not judging the book by it's cover, Jordan is also an incredible athlete and fighter, and is now devoting everything to the sport. Which, considering how good she was when she wasn't doing that, imagine how good she is going to be. In this interview you will find Jordan to be articulate, entertaining, and someone to root for.
Q: First, Jordan, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thanks so much for asking me to :-)
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself
A: I'm from Murrells Inlet, South Carlina and I've lived there my whole life. I'm the oldest of three sisters and family is incredibly important to me. I just quit my job as an administrator/paralegal at the SC Environment Law Project, an environmental non-profit law firm, where I worked for about four years. I loved my job and the things we were doing, but I wasn't able to train very much so I recently made the very tough decision to leave (and move). Now, I'm focusing 100% on MMA and I plan on doing so until the money I saved runs out.
Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: I've always been good at sports that just involve me controlling my body but, throw another variable in there like a ball, bat or club and I may have a problem. I was a competitive gymnast for several years, up until high school. Once in high school I went a lil nuts, partied a lot, and really got away from fitness until college. I started surfing in college and surfed competitively for a few years locally. Once I started fighting I gave up competing in surfing but I still surf for fun and I still like to challenge people to handstand contests :-)
Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: Maurice Travis, a 3 time World Muay Thai Champion, moved back home to Myrtle Beach and opened a Dojo. A couple of my friends started training with him and knew I'd love it so they kept telling me to try it out. I finally did one day and loved it. I just trained Muay Thai at first but was introduced to Jiu Jitsu eventually. I enjoyed Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu separately but after a while I was ready to put them together. After my first MMA fight I was sold.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: Yes, I already had the basics down from a few "recreational bouts" I'd had growing up- everyone likes to pick on the small scrawny girl haha. It's kinda funny though. I enjoy training stand up more than the ground but the ground stuff comes more easily to me.....Go figure.
Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: Up until recently my training was pretty sporadic. I first walked into the gym in late 2006 but I wasn't serious about it and I got away from it a lot. I didn't actually compete until a kickboxing match in 2008. here wasn't a gym or coach down here for a few years too after Maurice Travis moved back to California, so it was hard to get anything consistent going. I traveled to Wilmington to train for my first MMA fight in 2009. Once Fitness Edge MMA opened in May, 2010 I got to train more but it was still over an hour away from where I worked every day so it still wasn't as consistent as I'd have liked.
Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: Yes, basically :-) Before I decided to go all out for MMA I'd applied and been accepted into law school. I'd been on that career track since college. A few family members let me know they'd rather I be doing that than fighting but, once they realized how important fighting was to me they regressed and I do now feel 100% supported by them (even though I know they think I'm a lil crazy). My grandparents actually ordered and watched my last fight on September 8th for the NAAFS. I was surprised but incredibly touched. They really pushed their own boundaries and it touched my heart because MMA is something they only gave a chance because they knew I loved it. It meant a lot to me.
Q: Where do you train at now?
A: That's a good question.... About to be all over! Haha. I just left my job and I'm about to drive out to Vegas to stay with some friends and train. I'm planning on stopping by a gym or 2 on the way down there and then checking out the gyms there and out in California. I've been lifting and getting in shape for the past two weeks at Next Level Training in Wilmington, North Carolina. That's where my strength and conditioning coach, JRod Olsen is so I may end up back there after all is said and done. I really don't know. I'm off to check things out and we'll see where I end up.
Q: Can you give your overall record so far.
A: 4-1 MMA, 1-0 kickboxing, 1-0 boxing, 12-4 Jiu Jitsu at 200lbs and below.
Q: Is there one fight you would say you are most proud of?
A: My first fight. I took a fight with what ended up being a bigger more experienced opponent, Jenny Yum. We went 3 rounds and she beat on me pretty bad but I held in there and fought back. I remember answering the 2nd bell and feeling so gassed I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make the few steps to the center of the cage. I'm pretty sure I lost every round but I gave it my all and we were awarded fight of the night and got a standing ovation. That fight, though I'd already known it, was further proof to myself that the only way someones going to stop me is if they take me out. I won't quit. Losing really pissed me off too and got me serious about training and fighting.
Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to improve?
A: My heart is my biggest strength. I want to get better at wrestling and I'm training with some NC wrestlers now. All areas of my game need work, to be honest. I want to bring my wrestling up to par with my ground and stand up and then work on getting better at everything and putting things together better.
Q: Name the one fight you have seen that you will always remember.
A: I remember watching the infamous Stephan Bonnar vs Forrest Griffin TUF finale fight. It was messy but it was bloody and glorious, haha, and it definitely got me hooked.
Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: I love watching all the top level females, GSP, Baukaw, Ramon Dekkers, my boyfriend Jon Owens and anyone else who's at the top of their game and questionably human :-)
Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A: Megumi Fuji, Chris Cyborg, Sarah Kaufman, Lisa Ward, Marloes Coennen, and now maybe Liz Carmouche. I'm definitely keeping my eye on her.
Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women's only company being viable?
A: Absolutely. The girls leave it all in the cage when they fight and we've only begun to ski the surface of the talent that's there and the talent that's up and coming. Given some time to flesh out, I think women's MMA is going to be an extremely viable and highly marketable arm of Mixed Martial Arts. I'm looking forward to riding those coat tails. It's a good time to be an up and coming female fighter :-)
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: We've got something to prove and we're "biotches" haha. Seriously though, an angry and/or motivated woman is a scary thing and contrary to the stereotypes, we're just as egotistical as the guys in that we don't want to lose, we've got a lot of pride (and women have always been competitive with one another haha). It's an uphill battle in such a male dominated sport and there's still a lot of doubters, haters and straight up D-bags out there who like to talk smack about lack of talent, skills and/or act like there's something morally wrong with women fighting. We have all those people to answer to. Another thing also could be that most girl fighters usually train with people a lot bigger than them and it sucks always getting beat up so once they get in the cage with someone near their size there's usually hell to pay :-) The novelty of a female fight also helps. Although we complain about there not being enough female fighters out thee, you can't deny the fact that when there is a girl fight on the card, it's usually the only one so there is automatically a lot of attention paid to it. We're well aware of that when we step into the cage.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: That we aren't "mean" enough or that we have to be masculine or rough types to be any good. Just because a girl is ladylike or feminine outside of teh ring doesn't at all effect how she's going to be inside of it.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, what is the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: Get comfortable with a lot of contact with sweaty gross guys. Get used to being the underdog every day at the gym, get ready for people to question your ability and/or whether or not you belong in the ring. Then after a lot of time, determination, blood, sweat and tears....Get ready to blow their minds :-)
Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Well, now that I quit my job, I might actually have time for some of those. I love to surf, vacations that aren't to a tropical place with waves seem like a total waste to me. I am getting into making organic food grade products because the ingredient lists on your typical personal care products sold in stores is retarded and scary. I like to shoot guns and run around like a tomboy with my guy friends and from time to time I like to get glammed up and go out with my girl friends. Usually though I'm holed up at my house with my boyfriend and my dogs, reading and cooking and otherwise being boring (those are probably my favorite times) :-)
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jordan McDonald.
A: Well, when I had a fight coming up it used to go something like: Wake up at 6am, go to the gym and lift/train for 45 minutes- 1 hour, go to work, get off and rush home to feel and walk my dogs, then rush to Fitness Edge MMA gym to train to 1-3 hours depending on what time I got out of work, rush home, cook, eat and make myself go to sleep so I could get up and do it all over again the next day. The past 2weeks since I quit my job though, I've been getting up around 8-9am (joy!) leaving town by 10am to get to Next Level Training in Wilmington, NC to lift/train at noon, going to get some lunch, hanging with the S&C coach and learning all about nutrition and training, lifting/training again at 5pm, eating dinner, hanging wit friends, going to bed. I obviously much prefer the latter type days and I can't wait to see what a "typical" day for me will be like once I get settled somewhere after I move :-)
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I don't know.....I'm ultra organized and kinda OCD about things being neat and in their place as I like to say HA :-) Oh, and I'm nice, kinda quiet and probably one of the more laid back people I know (except when I train and fight of course)
Q: Describe Jordan McDonald in five words.
A: I had to ask someone else for this one so I didn't sound too narcissistic, so.... Approachable, Self-motivated, Violent (I liked that one), Intelligent, and Honest.
Q: So what's next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: I'm going to be traveling, training and finding my spot for the next few weeks-months. I've gotten a few fight offers but until I get settled somewhere I may just focus on training. Maybe May? Depends on how I feel once I get back into the gym. Hopefully I can make the cut to 105lbs and participate in the rumored Tuff N Uff 105lbs Ammy Tournament. After a few more fights I'm looking to go pro!
Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: First and foremost, I gotta thank Jon Owens because if it weren't for him, I might not be fighting now. He helped me train when there wasn't anything going on in Myrtle Beach and his skill, advice and guidance have been instrumental. I want to thank Ranger Up and Next Level Training who have both gone above and beyond your typical sponsors. They're great organizations made of good intelligent people who care a LOT about their fighters. I also want to thank Fitness Edge MMA, especially the guys that helped me get ready for fights and who made it through the "dark ages" of training in Myrtle Beach with me (T-bo, Chris and Walker I'm talking about you guys) :-)
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Jordan McDonald?
A: Oh YES and they can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm looking for sponsors who are good people pushing good products that I can whole heartedly get behind. I value my relationships with my sponsors very highly and I always do my best to represent them well with class, intelligence and any and all marketability I can. I understand the work relationship between the fighter and sponsor so I'm always willing to do things for them, get their names out there because if you help them they are better equipped to help you!
Q: Jordan, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to highlight so many women in the sport. I think I can speak for all of us and say it means so much to us. You rock :-)