Grappling and submission ace, Fiona Muxlow, looks to show the world of Women’s MMA that she has the all-around game to stake a claim as a top contender at 145lbs.
Taking on hard hitting striker, Julia Budd at Invicta FC 5 on April 5th, Muxlow has spent most of her training camp in Phukett, Thailand sharpening her skills at the world renowned Tiger Muay Thai. The Australian veteran sports at 6-2 record, and most recently competed in December of 2012 against fellow Invicta Featherweight, Marloes Coenen.
Corey Smith: Before you competed full time in MMA, you primarily competed in BJJ tournaments. Was this the first discipline you trained or did you start with something else?
Fiona Muxlow: I actually started training in an Australian MMA system derived from kyokushin karate, aikidosabaki fighting, combined with BJJ, called Renshinkan – although it was before MMA was a common term. The system/school went thru a number of name changes from Renshinkan Combat Aikido, then Renshinkan Vale Tudo and finally Renshinkan MMA. It evolved as the sport did.
CS: What aspect of MMA is the most fun for you? Which aspect is the hardest for you to stay motivated while training it?
FM: I enjoy the ‘ground and pound’, ‘hugging’ and ‘hitting.’ The hardest part is early morning sessions, whatever they be! While I like being up early, my body doesn’t!
CS: Before your fight with Marloes Coenen at Dream’s New Year’s Eve show last year, you had never competed outside of your native Australia. What was fighting in another country like for the first time?
FM: Let’s dispel that little bit of Internet misinformation. I have fought outside Australia, although I have seen it written a few times. Actually, my first 4 MMA fights were held in New Zealand. Two against Australians, one Kiwi and an American . It wasn’t until my 5th fight, that I fought in Australia and I’ve only had two of my 8 MMA fights in Australia. With 5 in New Zealand, and 1 in Japan, it feels more natural for me to fight outside of Australia than in Australia!
CS: You won a Princess of Pain one night tournament, securing three submission victories. What was it like fighting three times in one night? Is there any part of one night tournaments that you wish was implemented into general MMA?
FM: At the time it was kinda normal. I was coming off BJJ and Karate competitions where you would fight multiple opponents/fights over the course of the day, so it didn’t seem strange to me at all.
FM: I’m not sure if there is any thing that I would implement into general MMA. Other than the multiple fights, I didn’t see much difference compared to the shows I have been on. Over the course of the night, I fought 5 rounds, but only two of them went the distance.
CS: You have also participated in the prestigious Abu Dhabi grappling tournaments. For those not familiar with ADCC, what were those experiences like?
FM: It was great and I’m very sad that I don’t get the chance to qualify this year. I am thrilled to have qualified twice for the ADCC World Championships. The qualifiers for my Asian region are three weeks away but only two weeks out from Invicta. If I had the money for flights and the permission, I’d be there in a heartbeat! But Invicta is my priority right now and I regrettably, have to give up the chance to qualify for the ADCC World Championships a third time. Who knows, but if I do we’ll enough against Julia maybe they will invite me to compete. ADCC is a biannual event and the only way you get in is to qualify or be invited so it’s very prestigious.
Hanging out with, and competing against, the top BJJ/ MMA fighters in the world in submission wrestling is something that cannot be matched. Going back the second time, it was like meeting old friends and I knew I had the opportunity to learn from, and talk with, some of the best grapplers in the world. I’ve been to the BJJ worlds but I think ADCC for me was more special.
CS: On April 5th, you will be competing in the United States for the first time at Invicta FC 5. What are you most looking forward to?
FM: I want to redeem my loss to Marloes, it was not my best work. I want to show what I can actually do. I was under prepared and overwhelmed with my Japan fight. This time I will have more notice and training ‘under my belt.’
CS: Fellow Aussie and Invicta athlete, Bec Hyatt, congratulated you on Twitter for signing with Invicta. What has she told you about the organization?
FM: Bec has been talking me up for a while and I thank her for that. She is great with promoting herself and WMMA. We haven’t talked much, and not at all in person as we actually live really far away from each other. Pretty much what you have seen on Facebook and Twitter have been our interactions. We are both busy ladies but I’m sure she will ‘word me up’ on the plane fight over to the States.
CS: Your opponent on April 5th, Julia Budd, looks like a classic striker versus grappler matchup. What are you expecting in your bout with her?
FM: A tough fight, from what I have seen, even though she is a “classic striker” she can wrestle as well, but that’s okay because I’m a “grappler” who can strike. I think whoever of us can get on top will have the real advantage.
CS: What do you think a win at Invicta FC 5 would do for you and your career?
FM: It would definitely cement my Unified Women’s Professional MMA Top 10 Featherweight Ranking. America seems to be the place to be at the moment for MMA, and winning there will help my profile for sure. Thank you to Invicta FC for the wonderful opportunity. As I said a good performance would help in being considered for an invite to ADCC 2013 and build my support base and maybe get me some sponsorship, and of course more fights.
CS: You’ve mentioned that you use CrossFit training as a main component in your physical fitness training. What is it about CrossFit that makes you feel it contributes overall to your fitness?
FM: Strength, endurance, flexibility, cardio. I get bored quite easily with exercise and the constant variety that CrossFit offers keeps me entertained. My workouts are tailored around what part of my fight prep I’m at, and if no fights are ‘in the works’ it helps keep my GPP up.
CS: Outside of the gym and cage, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun?
FM: I like to sleep, I’m actually really boring. I’m fairly introverted – so after a big week of training with lots of people time alone is great. A long walk, or swimming, or ‘just chilling’ with a good book or podcast is fun. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology, so anything about the natural world interests me.
CS: When you look back on your career many years from now, when the lights have dimmed, and the roar of the crowd faded, what do you hope you have accomplished?
FM: I do what I do because I do it, not for the lights or the crowd, although I always want to put on a good show. If I can inspire someone to follow their dreams I suppose that’s a good thing!
CS: Lastly, MMA is as much a team sport as it is an individual one. Who would you like to thank?
FM: I’d like to thank Chris Shen and Team Takedown, all the guys and girls at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA, my wonderful clients and coaches at CrossFit North Queensland, Rocktape Australia and Fightergirls. I also want to thank anyone who has ever coached me in the past. And of course, Shannon and Janet and everyone involved in Invicta for putting on such a great platform for female MMA fighters, and to the wonderful fans who love to watch WMMA.