MMA veteran Michelle Ould recently signed with Invicta Fighting Championships and is ready to make herself into a household name in the Invicta Flyweight division.
Believing the adversity creates character, Ould is ready to sacrifice and give her all in order to rise to the top of the proverbial mountain. Look for Ould to make her Invicta debut soon!
Corey Smith: What initially led you down the never-ending path of martial arts? What discipline did you begin with first?
Michelle Ould: I have always been pretty competitive as far as sports and academics go, but I only had access to whatever was going on during school hours when I was growing up, unfortunately, as my mom and my half-brothers father were serious alcoholics and addicts. So we never had the luxury of living in one place too long, let alone were we supported in any healthy recreational activities financially or otherwise. I met my ex-husband when I was 15 through boxing as he was a junior Olympian and multiple Golden Gloves champion and inspired me to start training around that time.
MO: I had my 2 sons and was sidetracked with school and holding at least 2 jobs at a time for a few years before I found my way back to full time training again when I was 25. That’s when I decided I wanted to start doing MMA and met my first BJJ coach Czar Sklavos and I became obsessed. So it’s really hard to say which discipline actually ignited my path but I definitely have a mixed background. Then again I enjoyed fighting boys since before kindergarten. I’m a little twisted like that I guess. I use to get in trouble for the things I now do for a paycheck. It’s a beautiful thing really.
CS: At what point did you realize MMA was something that you wanted to devote your life to?
MO: My first opponent had quite a few boxing matches, so it was encouraging when I beat her as quickly as I did with only a few months training especially as she was so much bigger than me. My next two opponents were top ten fighters at the time with a lot of experience that we had no knowledge of and when I lost I thought about taking a step back since I felt I was in over my head.
MO: I almost thought maybe I just couldn’t catch up to the competition as I had so many more responsibilities with the boys being so young, I even considered just focusing on school and not pursuing fighting at all. But something kept calling me back and once I racked up a few more wins I finally had confidence in myself to believe I might be able to actually do something with MMA aside from it just being a really physically and financially grueling hobby.
CS: Are you still currently training out of Team Quest? What makes the gym your home?
MO: Yes. I liked the atmosphere immediately of our gym. It’s a little more laid back as far as ego and attitude in comparison to many of the gyms I have trained at or visited. We are very family oriented which of course appeals to me as a single parent. And of course over time people just grow on you. Now it seems there are more couples with children here than not, which is almost opposite of anywhere else I have been, and making it a family affair helps in every way for me. It’s not all about being around groupies and parties etc, and unfortunately I have seen those types of things distract even the most talented of athletes. And I certainly like to minimize that type of temptation. Plus I have a lot of social anxiety so it’s nice living off the grid a little bit.
CS: Both of your sons currently train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. As a parent, what age do you think is appropriate to begin training in any type of martial art?
MO: Whenever the coaches you work with and admire say your child should be ready, then you should trust that. And even then it’s on an individual basis. Not everyone progresses or processes info at the same rate. My sons are complete opposites so I can’t make a generalization on that. My oldest son is finally embracing his competitive side while my youngest still only sees it as a social activity where he can show off his muscles haha. Definitely do your research and while it’s good to put them in activities to keep them busy and teach discipline and teamwork, not everyone is cut for competition and they shouldn’t be forced to do so just because of a parent’s personal expectations/vision or them living vicariously through their child. Basically, just don’t be a douche.
CS: You recently signed with Invcita FC, and will be competing in the Flyweight division. What are you most excited about in regards to signing with Invicta? What are your goals with Invicta?
MO: Clearly I want to be #1 and only recently did I actually start believing in myself enough to see that as being a reality. I know most athletes come across as uber confident at all times but I have to admit I am my own worst critic, to the point of being self-deprecating. That doesn’t work well for me though. I have had a considerable amount of time off so realistically I am aware I will have to work my way up and I am fully prepared to do so. I am just grateful for the opportunity and I don’t think it could have come at a better time.
CS: How important was it for you to fight for a promotion that featured your proper weight class?
MO: Honestly I can’t even see myself in any other situation at this point. I wasn’t going to sign under anyone or any weight class that I was uncomfortable with. I’ve been through enough trials and tribulations as far as fighting goes and wasn’t going to settle after the sacrifice and work I have put in up until now. Not to say that I won’t continue to sacrifice and put work in, but I won’t do so for anything less than I deserve, as I have done in the past. I have quite a few friends that compete under InvictaFC and they only have the best of things to say about them.
CS: What do you think a promotion that features solely female athletes does for the sport of MMA?
MO: Well it finally gives females a competitive platform across the board, as opposed to focusing on just a featured bout per card or one specific star female per promotion. They have shown that it is possible to cultivate many female stars in various weight classes, which of course gives us as fighters more opportunities: not to mention the fans are finally being exposed to the endless amount and diversity of talent that our sport has within the female ranks. Every possible critique as far as the risks of having a female only promotion has been shut down by InvictaFC, and that’s a pretty amazing feat in and of itself.
CS: What are your thoughts on the Flyweight division in Invicta?
MO: Well Invicta clearly has the deepest and most talented rosters especially as far as flyweigths go. And they are the only ones that have taken it upon themselves to invest in our weight class when all other promotions have had more of a ‘hit it and quit it’ approach–or they just focused on the stars they already had and built around them as opposed to building from within. It’s actually an amazing weight class and although I am a little biased about it, I still feel that they have yet to find that star that really stands out and catches the attention of the general masses in order to solidify our place in MMA history, especially with all of the recent progress our sport has made.
MO: That’s not to take anything away from the current champ or any of the females that have fought their butts off up until this point—but my goal is not to only be respected by my peers but also be recognized more as a household name. Because that is what’s going to pay the bills. That is what’s going to make all the sacrifice myself and my sons have made, finally make sense… especially financially. And I, along with every other flyweight in the rankings currently I’m sure, am fully prepared to take on the role of being that standout personality. And that’s something I have been told has always worked well for me lol, my personality. I am beyond excited and ready for that opportunity whenever InvictaFC deems that I have earned it.
CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
MO: It really just depends. I am partial to the women’s bouts regardless of who is fighting unless it is a blatant mismatch, and the men’s bouts I try to catch when I know them personally or have trained with them. Anymore it is really hard to keep up with the endless amount of men’s fights that go on weekly with all the promotions out there. They really have to catch my attention and stand out in some type of way to sit down and take time away from my already overwhelming schedule.
CS: Outside of the gym, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
MO: I don’t even know what this means. There’s activities outside of MMA that are fun?!! I mean—unless it has to do with training myself or the boys, I don’t have a lot of free time and the time I do have is put towards cleaning, laundry, chauffeuring, and homework. A lot of freaking homework with these kids. I relax when I am sleeping and even that is hard to come by with my overly analytical brain. And as a single parent I think especially among all mothers, we tend to feel almost guilty if we ever take time to just relax. If you see me posting pictures or posts that seem to be leaning in that direction you can almost guarantee I am getting some type of workout or work done at the same time. That’s just my nature.
MO: I always feel like you can never truly do too much short of physically injuring yourself — and even then MMA has taught me that you can always do a little more. And those are the types of values I wish to instill in my sons. And there’s no better way to do that other than to demonstrate it on a daily basis. I know relaxing is good for an individual and by all means I probably deserve more than I allow myself, but I’d rather be on this side of the spectrum than the opposite. I can’t afford to feel entitled or become complacent.
CS: Lastly, MMA is as much a team sport as it is an individual one. Who would you like to thank?
MO: Honestly I want to take this opportunity to put down permanently on the internet for my mom to see how much I appreciate her. I need her to realize that despite my rough childhood and the fact that she still feels guilty about how I had to grow up, that it made me the woman I am today. She always gives me credit for raising her and stepping up as the adult in our family at an early age and even comes to me for advice now, but I wouldn’t be who I am without the life lessons I had along the way.
MO: A lot of people question my humor and sarcasm, but after you have seen and been through the things I have, you realize how trivial most of the things people take so seriously these days, truly are. That mind set has made me as strong as I am in every way, and I would not have that if it weren’t for my upbringing. I tend to learn the hard way anyways so I am most likely better off. Statistically I shouldn’t even be here. But thanks to her I am. So— thanks mom.
MO: To everyone that has supported me and believed in me even when I didn’t myself, I am grateful. Especially Team Quest and the coaches I had prior. All my current and past sponsors as well. And the ones I hope to work with in the future.
MO: And of course to everyone that still doesn’t believe in me-thank you for the opportunity to prove you wrong. If it were an expected smooth ride I don’t know if I think it would be worth it anyway.
MO: Lastly, thank you to Janet and Shannon and everyone that has made Invicta a reality.