Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Carla Esparza Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1,2 and 5: Invicta FC
Photos 3-4: Brent Matsuno

In he first fight with Invicta in July, Carla Esparza continued to impress with a TKO victory over Sarah Schneider. On October 6th she gets another chance to continue impressing as she takes on a tough opponent, Lynn Alvarez, at the next Invicta card. It matches two women known for their submission victories, but who both have solid stand-up games. Esparza's skills have evolved with each fight which makes each fight she is in something to look forward to.

Q: Last fight you had an impressive win over Sarah Schneider, how did you feel about your performance?
A: I felt like I got off to a rocky start. I got mounted in the first minute, that's never a good thing. I picked it up and got my groove back as the announcer said. I brought it together and felt I did a great job in the second round.

Q: In a fight like that where everyone expects you to win, do you have to be careful not to get overconfident and look past her?
A: Yeah definitely! It is hard not to look past to that championship fight down the line. I think Sarah is really tough, people overlooked her. She has fought some of the top girls, Julie Kedzie, Kaitlin Young, Megumi Fuji, Sarah Kaufman, she is a tough girl and takes tough fights. Her record isn't the best in the world, but she doesn't just fight tomato cans and I respect her for that. I knew going in that she had a solid ground game so I trained my butt off for it. I didn't take her lightly. It is hard when everyone is telling you, "oh no big deal, you got this in the bag", it is hard not to look past it and get over confident.

Q: Did you enjoy working with the people at Invicta?
A: It was an amazing experience. The treat you the best of any promotion. They cater to the girls, they got our hair done, they set shuttles up to and from the venue usually I am stuck waiting around after a fight trying to find a way back to the hotel. They had their stuff together and were really professional.

Q: You have Lynn Alvarez coming up, how do you feel you match up with her?
A: I feel I match up with her pretty well. I think she is well-rounded. People expect her to be a striker because of her nickname "Lights Out", but in reality she has five wins and four are by submission. Obviously she has a good ground game and has fought girls ranked in the top ten right now like Michelle Waterson and Michelle Ould. She is no slouch. She has taken time off, she hasn't fought in about two years, so I am excited to see what she brings to the table.

Q: With her not having fought in awhile, if the fight goes into the third round, could that maybe affect her cardio?
A: Possibly. She has been fighting for so many years and she knows the ins and outs. For me, the ring rust comes in the beginning, just getting your groove in there. The cardio is how hard you train. I am not expecting her to be out of shape.

Q: A lot of your wins are by submission so girls may be hesitant to go to the ground with you, but with her being good at submissions, might she be more willing to go to the ground with you?
A: Actually, I think she enjoys the stand-up. I am not sure on that one. She lost her last fight to Jessica Aguilar by submission, so there is nothing set in stone. I try to not expect anything. I expected Sarah Schneider to pull guard on me and there she goes taking me down, so you never know. I have worked on my takedown defense, you always have to be ready for anything.

Q: With her having taken all that time off, does it make it harder to prepare since you don't know what she has been working on in all that time?
A: Definitely! There was an offer for us to fight like a year ago, so I know she has been training and staying active. Obviously she is not scared of me cause this is the second time she has tried to fight me. I had another fight at the time come up. In the back of my head I am like "what does she have up her sleeve", obviously she has seen my fights and still wants to fight me. I know she has been preparing and still training.

Q: Is there a key to you winning this fight?
A: The key for me is always patience. Sometimes I can get a little excited and that is when mistakes happen. I try and keep a cool head. That is my mentality going in.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: Prediction..... Carla Esparza wins haha.

Q: With everyone who follows women's MMA watching this, is it important to you to not only win but put on one of those stand-out performances, and be one of the girls everyone talks about after the event?
A: Oh definitely, I love that. Hopefully it is because I won in exciting fashion and not because I got knocked out and am on a highlight reel. It is good to get attention because of the fight, it is what I prepare for, it is my life, if people enjoy my fights, then I am doing my job.

Q: Would you hope a win would make you a top contender to the title?
A: I think I have been working my way towards a title. I think Invicta is trying to set up a 115 title. She is a tough opponent, but she isn't one of the top ranked girls so I don't think it would set me straight away to a title, but hopefully one step closer. I would love that shot.

Q: Even if you didn't get a title shot soon, I assume you wanna keep fighting with Invicta?
A: I would love to stay with Invicta. They treat me great and are an awesome promotion. I love supporting a show that supports women. That is the bottom line. If I can stay with them the rest of my career, I would love it.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: First and foremost, my team, Team Oyama for making everything happen. Brawl and Maul, Alienware, and Battleware.

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