HOUSTON, TX, April 9, 2012 – Some of the most exciting performances in Legacy Amateur Series history have come by way of the fairer sex. That much Is evident from having witnessed epic matchups like Kristy Kester taking on Jordan Gaza (the first LAM female fight) to clashes further on down the road, including the last one which put Kester against current champion Monica Earnshaw for the Legacy Amateur female belt.
This Saturday, April 14th, we return to the site of Houston’s House of Blues for what should be yet another exciting female matchup when Urban Jungle’s Stephanie Alba takes on Paradigm’s Ashley Meza. Both fighters are looking for their first win in their second bout overall in this one so there should be no shortage of motivation for either woman when they step into the cage this weekend. If nothing else, it should definitely be an interesting clash of styles between the two with Stephanie’s ground-based attacks being pitted against the karate background of “Polvorita” Meza. Either way, if past history is of any indication, this should definitely be yet another exciting girl fight to look forward to.
Here’s Stephanie Alba chiming in with her own thoughts leading up to the event.
Legacy Amateur Series 8 Interview – Stephanie Alba (Urban Jungle)
Stephanie, it’s much more of a rarity to see women in MMA than your male counterparts. Have you always been a fan? Who do you look up to in this sport?
I watched MMA a little before I got into it but not much. Not until I started training did I really start following the sport. Some of the fighters I look up to are Carla Esparza, Jessica Aguilar, Ashley Cummins, and just recently Ronda Rousey. I also really like Frankie Edgar, Urijah Faber and the Diaz brothers. One of my favorite fights is Carla Esparza vs. Felice Herrig (XFC 15) – Carla dominated that fight with her ground game. Loved it. Also loved watching Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. They’ve had some very impressive fights.
What about yourself? When did you start thinking about wanting to step into the cage?
Well I’ve always kind of been into fighting. Being a smaller girl, (4’11) I had to fight often to defend myself in high school. I took a self-defense class at Urban Jungle and fell in love with Jiu-jitsu. Then I started taking all the classes, like Muay Thai and cardio kickboxing. When I realized it was a competitive sport I quickly started entering BJJ competitions. MMA was such a fast growing sport and I wanted in there as well. I had anger issues and this was my outlet.
Aside from being an outlet for your aggression, what else would you say training has done for you so far?
I would say that fighting and training has made me such a better person in general. I have discipline in my life now because of it. My journey in the sport has been so humbling. Hard work and dedication most often pay off. I’ve met so many wonderful people in the MMA community. I’m so proud to be a part of it.
What else besides martial arts has made you the person you are today?
I’ve had to deal with a lot of things most people don’t starting at a very young age. It’s still too painful to talk about but I have a reason why I fight and I use that as fuel for my journey. No matter what I’m faced with I know that I’m strong enough to deal with whatever is thrown at me. That is what makes me who I am today and I am a better stronger person because of it. MMA has made it so much easier to deal with.
What are some of your goals in the sport?
I want to be a champion in either MMA or Jiu jitsu. I also want to open up a self defense/BJJ gym working with women and children. I love motivating and helping people. I want to be a good example and a mentor for children and women who maybe had the same issues I’ve had growing up. Hopefully these goals come sooner than later.
Looking ahead to this Saturday, you’ll be facing Ashley Meza. Coincidentally, you guys both lost to the same opponent in your MMA debut. What do you know about her?
I know she lost to the last girl I lost to. The fight never went to the ground and I know she trains at Paradigm. That’s all I know.
Speaking of that debut fight, tell us about that fight and how it’s helped you prepare for this one?
I don’t think I was fully prepared the first time. I just wanted to fight. It was an awesome experience and I feel that it helped take my training to another level and get serious about my training and not just train just to train but make it what I live and breathe. This time training has been so awesome. There have been so many people who have helped me with this fight and I appreciate that. Tony Torres Aponte at Urban Jungle – he is such a great BJJ coach and gets in my head, it’s like he knows everything about me without me even saying a word. I really respect him and am grateful he was put in my life. He and Michelle have seen it all. I feel like I am their problem child and they know exactly how to deal with me. I’ve also worked with coaches at 4OZ – Jeremy and Bob. Jeremy has been so awesome at motivating me to get better. They have welcomed me to 4OZ and made me feel good. Aaron Pena my boxing coach is really mean and pisses me off but I think he does that to make me more aggressive. Some of my teammates like Norma and Fernando who are BJJ players really push the pace for me also. They are getting better and I think they will beat me soon, maybe.
So how do you expect to win this fight?
I don’t know how it’s gonna happen but I do know that I’m gonna do whatever it takes to win, whether it be a KO, TKO or submission. I would really like to tap her out though. There is something so sweet about making the other person surrender. Either way, my hand will be raised!
Any last words before the fight?
Shoutouts to my coaches Tony and Michelle. 4OZ coaches Jeremy and Bob. Aaron Pena. Norma and Fernando and thanks to all my teammates. Also thanks to Tussle, Nokout and everyone else who supports me through it all.