Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Spotlight Interview: Ashley Cummins
Ashley Cummins had an incredible amateur career. In fact she was according to many, the best amateur in the sport at the time. She turned pro and continued her winning ways in her first pro fight. On January 28th she takes on her next challenge in Stephanie Frausto at NAAFS Combat Challenge 18. Make sure you watch this one, it could be the show stealer.
Q: Can you start out by talking about how you got started in the sport?
A: I started doing Tae Kwon Do when I was five. In middle school I anted to start kickboxing but my mom wouldn't let me, she didn't want me to get hurt. So I just continued to do Tae Kwon Do and soccer. When I played soccer I always got kicked out of games for fighting. I always knew I wanted to be a fighter, and when I became a freshman in college I knew my parents couldn't stop me so I started training in Mixed Martial Arts.
Q: You were a very accomplished amateur, how did you know when you were ready to turn pro?
A: It was more my coaches decision. I was never like "now I want to turn pro". I have been with my coach for five years, I love him and trust him a hundred percent. I just left it up to him, when he thought I was ready I was going to. After my eighth amateur fight he was like "you are ready".
Q: Were you any extra nervous for the first pro fight?
A: Yeah, I think I had that extra nerves that I didn't have for my previous amateur fights. It was a tough fight, I fought a girl who had more experience than me. It was the toughest fight I ever had and I came out victorious. It was a good learning experience, I learned a lot from that fight.
Q: You are fighting Stephanie Frausto in a couple weeks. What do you know about her?
A: Not much. I don't think she has fought in a year. But even though she hasn't fought she has still been training hard in the gym. I don't know much about her, I just go into every fight the same. I work my butt off for every fight, and go in prepared standing and on the ground.
Q: Does it being the first female fight in West Virginia carry any significance to you?
A: Yeah, its awesome. I think Stephanie and I will put on a great show for West Virginia and hopefuly after they will see female MMA is fun to watch and they have more female fights.
Q: You said you don't know much about her, but from what you do know, what would you say is your biggest advantage?
A: I think I will probably be stronger than her just cause I cut a lot of weight for fights and I think she doesn't cut as much as I do. So I will go in stronger and bigger.
Q: Do you expect her to have a specific game plan for you?
A: You know, when girls go against me I really don't know what they think. I consider myself a well rounded fighter. I don't specialize in stand-up, Jiu-Jitsu or I wasn't a college wrestler. I train everything so I am sure she is like me in that we go in well prepared and wherever the fight goes we will be ready for it?
Q: Is their one key for you to win this fight?
A: I think just remain aggressive and have better cardio is always the key to winning any fight.
Q: Do you have a prediction on how it ends?
A: I don't know how it is gonna end, but it will end with my hand raised.
Q: There has been a lot of hype around you. When you fight do you feel pressure to live up to it?
A: Yeah, I mean, I felt a lot of pressure as an amateur. I was ranked number one in the world and felt I had to keep that up. As a pro I feel a little less pressure cause I think everything starts over. But I know people still have their eyes on me and look at me like "how is she gonna do as a pro", but I think its less now than when I was an amateur.
Q: When the fight was announced I know some Ohio female fighters, where NAAFS is mainly located, were excited and planned to come to watch the fight. Does that mean anything to you that some of the newer and younger fighters are excited to see you in person?
A: That's awesome. Its the first I heard that. I think having other females in the crowd cheering for Stephanie and I will push us harder and make us put on a good show. After the fight I would like to meet and hang out with everyone.
Q: Assuming you win, any idea what you want to do next, or are you just focused on this?
A: Right now my focus is on this fight. I have had offers for February and march, but I leave that to my coach and focus on this. My goal has always been to be a professional fighter, and now that I am, my goal is to see how far I can go.
Q: Would the long term goal be Bellator or Strikeforce?
A: Yeah definitely. I would love to get on a big show like that. Another goal is to be ranked in the top ten in my weight class. Right now I am just enjoying the experience of being a professional athlete.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I want to thank my coaches at St. Charles MMA, all my teammates for pushing me, Barb Honchak, she helps me train a lot. I want to thank my sponsors Tussle, Lira Bros Clothing, Battle Ready Strength and Conditioning and Sport Fight League.