Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Jen Aniano Interview
On January 19th for Total Warrior Combat, a two year grudge comes to an end when Jen Aniano faces Sarah Goodlaxson. Both fighters have expressed their feelings on the how and the when and the why of the grudge and it has helped make this a highly anticipated fight. Recently I interviewed Sarah for her thoughts and now I get to share Jen's thoughts on this match-up.
Q: There has been a lot of talk going back and forth between you guys. It started when you were supposed to fight in 2010 and she had to pull-out due to an injury, but you were not totally sure she was injured were you?
A: I think she has blown that out of proportion. Her boyfriend at the time and I believe still her boyfriend, was one of my best friends. Jokingly I texted him, unbeknown to me that he was sort of seeing her. It was something you would text your friend. I think she has taken that and blown it epically out of proportion. It was kind of a messing around thing between a friend and I. She has turned it around and made me look like the bad guy which is fine. I guess in retrospect I shouldn't have said anything but it was really just a joke with a very good friend at the time who now is not a friend. She has blown it up a bit.
Q: You both did other interviews, in her interview she said you made excuses not to fight her and your interview said she backed out of three chances to fight you. When she says you made excuses, what is your response?
A: What she is referring to is my trainer Amir said at one point that I was not going to fight her because he did not like her disrespect. She had sent him messages that were to him, very disrespectful. Amir looks at MMA as a sport where everyone should at least respect their opponents because we all work very hard and train hard. He didn't like that she came at him that way and has been running her mouth about me and our school and the people I train with, not knowing any of them. He said we don't have time for drama. There were a few times where I am sure she asked for me to fight her and he said no. That was his reasoning, and I am sure there were times I don't even know about. He doesn't tell me everything, he handles my fighting, who I fight and when I fight. The stuff she says about asking him could be true, I don't know, she makes a lot of stuff up to.
Q: When I interviewed her she said she doesn't know these three times you are talking about, do you believe that?
A: I know for a fact that one of them she does because she posted on Facebook and Amir's wall that she was willing to accept the fight at Rumble in the Zoo, the last fight I had, and we had to pull in a different opponent on short notice. She agreed to the fight out in the open for everyone to see and then twenty minutes later backed out and deleted all her comments. I think she likes to play a lot of games and get people to play her games with her. At that point, after she said she would fight me and then backed out I had posted "I will never fight you, I want nothing to do with you, you are driving me nuts." She then took that and ran with it. She got under my skin and I said something to her. Amir is not about that so I tried to stay out of it and train for my fight and not worry about what is going on.
Q: In your mind do you feel she is trying to just get interest in the fight or interest in herself?
A: Absolutely all of the above. She did the same thing to Jessica Philippus. I know Jessica from wrestling. She went at Jessica the same way and someone mediated and now they are friends. She has visions of going pro and doing big things and she thinks this is the way to get it and I have a different philosophy. My philosophy is not to create problems and burn bridges, just be recognized and hope I get a big fight. I love networking with people, I love learning from people, there is always someone who can beat you up and you can learn from and even people you beat up you can learn from, so no reason to burn bridges and make people upset. In female MMA there isn't a big pool of people and if you make people hate you then who will you learn from and grow with, we need each other.
Q: Does it upset you that she is now at your former gym?
A: I think I went through a point where it did upset me because of the way it was done. We were supposed to fight each and she was trying to be buddy buddy with me. I left where I was at to go to grad school and got a job on the opposite end of the state so was training with other people. For some reason I think people were upset I left, I don't know what the problem was, no one talked to me about it, they just talked to everybody else. I really don't know. Between me going to grad school and and she and I fighting, she moved from wherever she was to come train with the team I trained with to fight me for the fought she backed out of. I don't know how that all happened. She attacks me but if anyone has anything to say it should be me and I don't. I don't understand why she has beef with me when I never said anything.
Q: Can her being with them help her or are you a different fighter now since you left them?
A: I am a one hundred percent different fighter. They can think it will help, she thinks my stand-up game is garbage, but I have completely turned that around because I have a trainer who believed in me and taught me how to fight standing up. The coaching philosophies are completely different. When I was with Dom, it was do what you are good at, Amir's is that we all need to be well-rounded so we can beat anyone at any game. I feel like I have grown immensely as a fighter with him.
Q: Going into the fight, having anger, do you need to remember to not let that anger take over and not do something stupid?
A: I think that is part of the reason why Amir doesn't let me get involved in drama and why he handles our careers because he doesn't believe drama helps anyone, it clouds your judgment and makes you wanna hurt someone. Really I just try and stay out. The only time I get involved is if she does an interview or says something about me and I need to give the other side so people don't think things based on what she says.
Q: No secret you excel on the ground, but is it safe to say if it stays standing you feel you can hang there?
A: Absolutely! She neglects to realize that I have never fought anyone close to my height. I have had four fights at 115 and the rest at 125 and 135 and I am clearly not a 125 or 135. That will make a big difference, being in the same reach, it will change how good my hands look. I have been busting to improve my stand-up game and she will be surprised.
Q: Can she hang on the ground with you?
A: Absolutely! You have to respect somebody even if you don't like them. Dom is a good grappler, I learned from him, I started with him. Everyone there has decent grappling and wrestling. It will be an even game on the ground. I just have to be first, like wrestling, whoever is first wins. If I get on top I am confident I will win the fight.
Q: Is there a key to you winning?
A: I think keeping confidence in myself. It is my brain more than anything that was first to go when I started. It takes a lot to get used to getting hit and not losing your wits. Now mentally I am much stronger. I think my mental state is my weakness and I am working immensely on that.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I think it's gonna be a battle. A three round battle. I don't think either of us will let the other win easy. There is too much animosity to not go with all the heart that we have.
Q: After this, any idea what you want next or just taking it one at a time?
A: I do take it one at a time. I do wanna work hard enough to be recognized and get into Invicta. That is the goal for most females, Invicta is where it is at.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Lightning Kicks, Amir Khillah, all my teammates, I couldn't do it without them. Grand Rapids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Clint Crabtree, he is phenomenal. Team Carlson Gracie, that is where we come from. No words can thank them for all they do for me. Also thanks to my sponsor Akimma.