Friday, September 7, 2012
Michelle Ould Interview
Photo 4: Sherdog
Photo 5: Full Contact L Dano
On September 28th Michelle Ould makes her return to the cage when she faces Munah Holland for Bellator. Ould is coming off two wins, both by armbar and has evolved her game and become a more complete fighter. This is a fight that has Fight of the Night potential written all over it.
Q: First, how has the foot been holding up in your last couple fights?
A: It's probably going to be an ongoing thing. I can still feel it even jogging, it goes numb. It is probably just gonna be with me forever. Some injuries just sick with you. I have one, my shoulder is higher up than the other and aches from an old injury from Jiu-Jitsu. Sometimes I feel I have to tape my foot and I can just feel it. It will never change haha. I just try and put on a brace whenever I can. I just try and work around it. Everybody has injuries at any given time.
Q: Has it affected how you fight at all?
A: Yeah, I try and kick with my shin as opposed to my foot cause that is what did me in. Because of my lack of reach when I am trying to strike, I have found I lean out. It is something I have had to work on with my coaches, to just get in there and land it and plant it and then move instead of trying to do it at the same time. It has made me work on my technique more.
Q: Your last two wins are both by armbar, is that something you have been looking for in fights, or just the opportunity was there?
A: Opportunity was just there. I would rather win by TKO. I like to float and just kind of stay on top and go for position over submission. I find girls can get out of armbars easier as the fight goes on because they are sweaty. I don't look for them, I don't feel armbars are my strength. I just feel they were there because I did enough damage punching on top and it opened up the armbar. I never think about it, I am not Ronda Rousey with armbars by any stretch of the imagination.
Q: In a way, can it benefit you, someone sees you winning with armbars and doesn't want to get caught in a sub and will stand with you like you like?
A: Yeah, I think I am pretty versatile, I am comfortable anywhere, standing, grappling, against the fence, on my back, on top, it really doesn't matter. I am there to fight my fight, they can game-plan all they want but they have to game-plan for someone that has every tool.
Q: It has been awhile since you fought, is it just a case of having trouble getting fights?
A: Yeah, I fought in January. It had a lot to do with a lot of different things. Management, lack there-of, prior affiliations, people being confused when trying to set up a fight, Bellator thought I had the same management even though we had gone our separate ways. There was drama and I don't like drama and was getting rid of anything that reflected negatively on me and my career. They thought I was still with them, a lot of people were confused and didn't know who to talk to and it held me back. As soon as it was cleared up, Sam Wilson helped me a lot and put me in touch with Brett Atchley and as soon as I signed with him I had a Bellator contract. The interest has started again now that I have gotten rid of negative people who made promises that never came through, it seems things are more positive and I feel I am back on the right track. There are some people still that I have some beef with and it's unfortunate because I am not that kind of person. I have been through a lot and I feel there is no point in having drama. For me it is more than selling tickets. It is something I take seriously. Sometimes having girls when we should be sticking together, it really irritates me because we are not in high school. There is so much gossip I could write a book. People think I am sometimes that bad guy cause I say what's on my mind, but whatever I say, you can guarantee it is the truth. I tend to keep it all to myself, but I have been affiliated with people, and we know who I am talking about haha, who don't know how to keep their mouth closed and it gets me involved in some negative wars. I never lie, I don't have to make up stories, I am either sticking up for myself or someone else. The things I regret saying are when I am sticking up for a friend and they end up not having my back or just embarrass me later on.
Q: September 28th you fight Munah Holland, with it being Bellator, is this your biggest fight?
A: I try not to get my nerves up too much because of the name Bellator. It is in a way, but at the same time, I take every fight just as serious. I never under-estimate an opponent. I got grief for my last fight, a couple vindictive comments were made that I didn't fight anyone that was good. I didn't set that fight up and took it on four days notice and we couldn't find anyone else. I was coming off a back injury and not training. I thought Tonya was supposed to fight and she couldn't, they offered Gina, all I knew was her fight name was "Jiu-Jitsu". A couple reporters had said something, and I am like "what the hell ever". You know how many girls have fought less than formidable opponents and get all this credit for winning? I didn't have anyone to choose from and we searched high and low. No one else was ready, I wasn't even ready, so I was grateful she stepped in. The Missouri National Guard was sponsoring the show and really were pushing for a female fight, we wanted to make it happen. I didn't know it was her pro debut, I knew she had fights in the Mid-West that were considered professionally but a few states over they weren't considered pro fights because they didn't have licensing. She had had fights and talked up all these fights, so I took her serious. The opportunity that it is Bellator, a part of me wants to jump up and down and say "I finally made it", but I don't want it in my head to be so big and put too much pressure on myself because like I have said before the only person who can beat me is me. That is the only thing that has been a challenge. Nothing physical, just mentally doubting myself or kicking someone in the knee and breaking my foot haha. I've had some bad luck in my fights, a fight stopped for no reason and the commission tell me the girls trainer and manager promoted the fight. I could have got that reversed, I just didn't know, it was my second fight. My record should technically be 9-1, I just didn't know anything and had no management, I went out there to fight. The fact Bellator is giving me an opportunity is super cool. Addison Sports Management has a bunch of 125 girls, it is a deep division, deeper than people realize, and the fact they are looking at 125 is awesome. I am grateful and hope to continue to work with them.
Q: She is 5-1, with three KO/TKO wins, I assume you expect her to want it standing?
A: Of course! She's good. She is gonna try and take my head off. I am ready for it. I have brought in a lot of girls who do the same thing and all-around doing all I can. There is not enough hours in the day. I brought my parents in to help because I have been so busy, I have to make a living. I am not gonna say it's a struggle because this is what I wanted. I'm just gonna fight my fight, I have been working nothing but stand-up, not even taking wrestling cause it's already there. We have had people come in and emulate her. I am really grateful and feel I have a lot of support with the girls and guys here and all the research they have been doing.
Q: Where do you feel you hold the biggest advantage over her?
A: Anything can happen in MMA. I don't like to sit here and say anything and then something else happens instead. Anything can happen. Look at the last two girls she fought, no one expected that, she proved people wrong. I let my coaches watch her fights, I don't do that anymore, I don't want it in my head. I get myself all psyched out. The ground, we all know that is my game and the fence, I work the wall well, dirty boxing and that stuff. We'll see, I might just surprise people, my last fight I threw my last head kick ever and the grappler in me took it to the ground. I have worked on being calm in stand-up. I have changed my game quite a bit, it used to be go in there and try not to get hit cause I swell up, even if I am beating her up, I swell up worse than her. Now I try and be smarter and more patient and don't engage in slug-fest like the last two girls did, you don't want to be in a slug-fest with Munah, she hits really hard.
Q: Is there a key to you winning this fight?
A: Honestly, we have been focusing on my conditioning more than anything else so no matter where it goes I stay calm. I tend to get nervous and get a huge adrenaline dump and gas out. I get anxiety, not because of who I am gonna fight, but because everyone is watching me. People watching, I get shy. Some people love to be on stage and have the spotlight, I like to be in the gym putting in the work and be part of a team, once it is just me, I don't wanna let my coaches down, it makes me tense up and gas out. So working on cardio more than anything else. I have the tools wherever we go, I can pull something out. I don't have a particular strategy, I have been working on everything, but making sure my cardio is on point so I can put on a good show, we don't wanna see two tired gassed-out girls out there.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I just visualize myself winning and moving on to the next thing. I feel like it's my time, I have had so many horrible things happen to me in my personal life, things out of my control. When I was younger I visualized myself as a fighter and have allowed a lot of self-doubt and girls being jealous to bring me down. I am past all that and realize I have to be selfish and talk myself up a bit. I don't wanna be cocky and say "I am gonna win", but I visualize myself winning and moving on to the next step. I feel I deserve it and have put in so much time, effort heart and sweat, training day in and day out for fights that haven't come through. I have never had it easy. I feel this is what I need to immerse myself and grab it by the horns and make it my own and move forward. Pow through whoever it is and the end result being me being a champion, because it is what I am, this is what I was meant to do, I was born to do. I have so many things going on and as soon as I am in the gym, everything melts away, that is where I belong. My prediction is that this is one more step forward for me. I really like Munah, but I am pretty determined and see my hand in the air. She has a lot of support and it used to get to me, but I don't care anymore. I sacrifice a lot and am tired of it being for nothing, I need to make my mark and my name before I get to old haha.
Q: Would you hope a win can get you into the 125 tournament?
A: Of course! I would love, love, to be able to end this fight quicker than anyone expects and take Zoila on because she needs a fight at the end of October.
Q: You seemed the last year or so to have more confidence, is that accurate?
A: Confidence? You think so? I don't know. Just knowing this is what I do and that I have been through shit storms of things in my life and in MMA, things you can't control, I am comfortable that win lose or draw, as long as I give it my all, you cant always control the out-come. Just to not let it go to the judges, I don't want that because you can win and actually get a loss. In my heart, I know I work really hard and am comfortable that I know what I am capable of. I think a lot has to do with getting rid of the negative relationship to be honest with you. That has to be what it is. I had self-esteem issues from that relationship, it was my own fault for staying with it. It got in the way of training, sponsors, everything in my life. If you noticed it the past year, that is about how long I have been separated from that relationship except I had that person corner me for fights for the organization they supposedly work for, one minute they are the matchmaker and one minute they aren't, whichever is convenient for them at the time. It is a bunch of bull shit if you ask me. It is because I am doing everything on my own. I don't know any other single women with two children who don't get child support that still pursue something like this. They are married to men who own gyms or are single and don't have kids. A few do get child support or get help, I don't get any of that except for when I beg my parents to come out here and that was because my dad was injured and is here recovering, so I do have help right now, but other than that it is a day to day thing to juggle my life. The confidence is because everything is coming together. I have a track record of being with people who make me believe I need them. Now I realize I just need a good support system from my gym. As long as it is me and my kids and dog, I can do it.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: First and foremost my sons Alex and Daryan. My parents who's business is Mustache Flates. The memory of my brother Josh Schmidt who passed in 2007. Addison Sports Management, Team Quest and Dan Hederson, Dynamic Fitness, Dr. Taverni, Fit Sexy Mom, Intimidation Clothing, Fight Chix, Ricardo Feliciano Jiu-Jitsu, Daniel Woirin, Triple Threat, LVS, Epic Foto, VII AD, Hatewear, Outlaw Fight Gear, Perfect Tan, ACL, Titled Kilt, Fast track Insurance, Apocalypse MMA, Sam Wilson, and Brawl Base.