Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lacey Schuckman Interview

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: John Burkhard Photography
Photos 2-3: Mason Pomme Photography
Photos 4-5: RFO

The second Invicta card is another chance to showcase the best in women's MMA. Filling in as a late replacement has allowed Lacey Schuckman to step in and face Ayaka Hamasaki and show that she does in fact belong in any such showcase. Shuckman has fought many great competitors and has improved with each fight. The short notice should not be an issue for someone like Lacey who is always training. This is a great opportunity for Lacey to introduce herself to the casual fan who may not closely follow women's MMA and gain a lot more fans who will get to see what those of us who do closely women's MMA have known for quite some time.

Q: Can you talk a little about how you got started in the sport?
A: When I was really young, I have always been with my husband Randall, and we were always great friends, he started with traditional Tae-Kwon-Do. He would come home every night and say "let me practice my move on you". I got tired of getting kicked in the face and said "I wanna learn this". I started taking traditional Tae-Kown-Do with him and we quickly moved into Muay-Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He had a school wrestling background so we started training with a lot of the local high school and college wrestling teams.

Q: You have fought a lot of good opponents, is there a fight that up till now you are most proud of?
A: Right now, I am most proud of my last fight. I don't like fighting at 125, it is really big for me. Michelle Blalock is a very tough girl, she is very aggressive, she definitely intimidates her opponents, she hadn't been beaten yet, so it was a step up for me to take that challenge. She had just made her pro debut, she was unbeaten as an amateur as well. Just to step up and test my skill against her and own the fight the whole time just felt really good to me. To win a title was even better. I am very proud of that fight and am looking forward to this one coming up.

Q: That fight was a while ago, was not fighting for this long by design or having trouble finding a fight?
A: I have had offers but it is always for top ten females and they wanna offer you five hundred bucks to fight them. That doesn't make sense to me. So I wasn't receiving any good offers and that one popped up and it is local which makes it easier because I don't like to travel as much because I have to drive because I bring my dog. So, it was a convenience and was a great opportunity to put a stamp here locally.

Q: You are fighting Ayaka Hamasaki for Invicta, when and how did you find out about the fight?
A: I think it was on the fifteenth. Originally when they were setting up the Ayaka and Jasminka Cive fight, I was asked if one of the girls couldn't take it would I be interested. But they decided to book them both. On the fifteenth they called my manager and he told me Jasminka had trouble with her visa and they asked me to be making weight in case her visa didn't go through. hen on the nineteenth they officially offered me the fight. It was a waiting game. I knew it was going on and assumed it might happen so was training hard.

Q: I know you are always training so I assume the short notice aspect doesn't bother you much?
A: Not too much. Like you said, I am always in pretty good shape and always trying to improve my game. When I don't have fights I am always trying to improve and fix the holes in my game and improve what I am already pretty decent at. I kinda like short notice fights cause I don't have to think about it much. I was already cutting for my fight in October so the cut doesn't bother me. It worked out perfectly.

Q: Are there any cons to it being short notice?
A: Just having to get everything set, my travel arrangements, canceling classes, finding other coaches to run classes. But other than that, no, it doesn't bother me.

Q: Knowing how big this card is for women's MMA, make this fight more special for you?
A: Yeah, I definitely think it is an honor to be on an Invicta card. I think they are doing things right for women in the sport. It is an awesome opportunity to fight someone from Japan. I want to go there eventually so I m excited to have them come here and just kind of test out the field. I appreciate Ayaka taking the fight as well. It is a big deal for me to be on this card.

Q: How do you feel you match up with her?
A: She is a very tough opponent. She is a Judo player and she is undefeated. I think that where I will benefit is my boxing and Muay-Thai. I feel my Jiu-Jitsu is stronger but I feel that she can adapt, she is a second degree black belt in Judo, so she has competed so many times that competition is competition. I think it being her first fight abroad, there are a few factors on my side.

Q: She is undefeated at 7-0 and you are 7-4, people who may not follow women's MMA may just look at the records and expect her to win, but is it accurate to say those people are not taking into account the level of opponents you have fought?
A: I think you could look at it and see it that way. I think people don't understand she hasn't fought an American yet. The level of competition at bigger shows where you have people coming from overseas is a little different. I feel we have a tougher and harder style. There as much ground and pound and Muay-Thai in the Asian countries as there is here, so I think that will be a big factor. On paper you could see it and say she is definitely gonna win, but there is a lot of factors that are on my side.

Q: All her fights being in Japan, how could coming to a new country make it difficult?
A: Not knowing how your body reacts to travel. That is a long flight. I don't know if she has ever been to America even. Being in a whole new place, it is hard to adjust, let alone having to compete. She trains with people who have fought abroad, so I am sure they have those things factored in and have explained them to her. Just like anything, it is uncomfortable to not be on your own front porch.

Q: With all the eyes of people who follow women's MMA on this, is there a part of you that wants to not only win, but have that Kaitlin Young vs Leslie Smith fight that everyone talks about after?
A: I am not to worried about having the big fight everyone is talking about. I am definitely going in to win. I have been working hard and improving my game. I don't take a fight that I don't plan fight to win. I plan to put it all on the line, display all my skills, give it all I got, and at the end of the night, that should make me the victor.

Q: What is the key to winning for you?
A: Just to avoid her throws. She is a second degree black belt in Judo so she will have great throws and clinch. Where she trains they have great wrestling and coaching. More than anything, be careful of her Judo. All the Judo players, as soon as they get their throw, they have such a short time on the ground to get the submission before they stand them up. So just look out for her Judo and her throws.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: No, just gonna let the fight take me where it takes me. I have been working one very area, so I should be good.

Q: After this, any idea what you want next, or just focusing on this?
A: Right now I am focused on this. I do have a fight in October with Jennifer Moran at 105. It is my first fight at 105. So after this just worrying about my cut. Work on a few things that will be different for Moran vs Hamasaki since they are different opponents.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My main coach, my husband Randall Schuckman. He has had an impressive year this year, he won Golden Gloves and has been working on his game. I am very Proud of him. My professor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Joaquin Baca, my wrestling coach Jarrett Mahoney, my training partners, Kyle Uchiyama, Diana Rael and Ben Schissler. Also all my Team Goonies. My sponsor, Slade and Molly Bittler at Tussle. Slade is also my manager and put this whole thing together and has done all I needed and I really appreciate it. Also, my heart goes out to everyone involved in this shooting here in Colorado. It is not far from me and hit home. My teams prayers go out to all the victims and their families.

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