Former Marine helicopter electrician Liz Carmouche hits the big-time when she faces UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. on February 23. MP reporter Art Garcia Jr. caught up with Carmouche and asked her some questions about her upcoming fight. CLICK FOR OFFICIAL FIGHT POSTER.
AG: How does it feel to know you and Ronda will be making history as not only the first women’s title fight in UFC history, but also be the first women’s match to headline a UFC pay per view event as well?
LC: I feel great. It’s amazing and it’s a true honor to be part of history. I’m really grateful that the UFC has allowed me this opportunity and that I can be one of the people involved in making history on the part of UFC.
AG: Without a doubt this will be your biggest fight, do you feel any pressure at all with the fight coming up in two weeks?
LC: No – I’m just super excited for the fight.
AG: I would like to thank you for your service to our country, what got you into the military?
LC: Two different things. I was raised in Okinawa, Japan, so I was raised around a lot of different military communities and I got to see the best and worst of the military and it really appealed to me because I was looking for something to get my life in order – and the military really fit that. And the marines definitely fit the bill with the physical and mental challenges that I was looking for.
AG: You served three tours of duty to the Middle East — did it help your MMA career in any way?
LC: Yeah I think it absolutely helped me. First of all, the separation between the United States and the times I had in Iraq taught me how to compartmentalize my life into two separate worlds and I think that helps out with the psychology within the sport. As well as those experiences I had in Iraq can never compare to any other difficulties I have the rest of my life. And I think because of that, it has made me very strong-willed and has really helped my success in the MMA.
AG: Ronda’s background growing up was in Judo, what about your background and what influenced you to get into MMA?
LC: I don’t really have a background; I started three years ago and have been going ever since. When I was in the military I found that there was some training that was similar and this friend that I worked with suggested that I get into MMA because I thought it would fit the physical demand I was looking for and I tried it out and it stuck.
AG: Ronda’s strength as a mixed martial artist is clearly her judo and arm bar submissions, what are your strengths in this sport?
LC: I think I’m a well-rounded fighter and because of that I feel I have a lot of things going in my advantage.
AG: You’re 2-0 since you lost to Sarah Kaufman and in Ronda’s last fight she submitted Sarah via arm bar in just 56 seconds of the first round. Can you take anything away from that fight regarding Ronda’s performance and use it to your advantage?
LC: Yeah – I take something away from every single fight she has participated in. I’ve studied her fights and have tried to integrate some of the things she does into my own training so I can compare it as well as make little notes and little changes to know exactly what I need to do to win this fight.
AG: Knowing that all of her fights have ended with arm bar submissions and have never made it past the first round, do you change your strategy at all or do you just climb into the ring with the hopes of making her fight your type of fight?
LC: I just focus on what I have to do and I don’t change my training at all. I train year-around so it’s (Ronda’s arm bar) just having something in mind to train for.
AG: Do you have any pre-fight rituals, superstitions or other nuances you have to do before each fight?
LC: No, no superstitions to go through. My pre-fight ritual is just to relax with my girlfriend and just chill before the fight.
AG: Speaking of that, how has being “openly lesbian” affected your professional career in either the military or MMA – if it has at all?
LC: Thankfully my girlfriend has been there from the beginning and she knows my lifestyle when it comes to training and there’s a lot more time dedicated to it now, so it takes away from our free time and time together. But for the most part it’s all been positive.
AG: Any prediction for the fight?
LC: Yeah, absolutely – me with a win.
AG: By knockout, decision or submission?
LC: I can see it going any of those ways.
Ringside: If Carmouche, 8-2, can take the fight into the second round it will be the first time for Ronda. Throughout her MMA career, Rousey, 6-0, has never fought past the first round with five of her victories ending before the first minute – her longest fight was against former Strikeforce champion Meisha Tate which was stopped at 4:27 of round one.