Making her Invicta FC debut on December 7th, Tonya Evinger returns to the cage for the first time in over a year looking to continue her three fight win streak.
A finisher through and through, Evinger is a true veteran of the sport, and has lengthy resume in both MMA and amateur wrestling. Combat tested and stronger for it, Evinger brings her crowd pleasing style to the Invicta FC cage against fellow veteran Kelly Kobold at Invicta FC 7.
Corey Smith: How did your storied amateur wrestling career first come about? What led you to stick with the sport?
Tonya Evinger: I wrestled in Jr high, High School, college, and on the U.S. senior freestyle team. What can I say; I always liked putting my hands on people.
CS: When did you first begin your transition from amateur wrestling to mixed martial arts? What prompted the switch?
TE: I pretty much got bored in wrestling because I wasn’t competing enough, so around 2004 I moved from the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs to Sacramento and started training MMA with a friend of mine.
CS: You graduated college with a degree in Criminal Justice. What was your intent with the degree? Have you been able to utilize it?
TE: Lol. I wanted to be in the U.S. Marshals service, sorry but I look pretty freaking sexy with a set of cuffs that I’m about to put on your ass. After I wrestle you to the ground of course!
TE: I never used it really, but the classes I took were pretty educational about how NOT to get in trouble lol.
CS: Are you still currently training out of Team Quest? What is the atmosphere like there?
TE: No I train out of Finney’s Hit Squad in St Louis, Mo. I love it here, guys are really helpful and supportive, absolutely no drama, and hard technical training.
CS: Before your bout at Invicta FC 7 against Kelly Kobold, it will be roughly a year between fights for you. Are you anticipating any type of ring rust? What led to the long layoff?
TE: I don’t fight a lot because girls don’t want to fight, and promotions don’t want to pay. The same reason you see most the top girls waiting, and waiting…
TE: For this fight I don’t see much of anything going down except a lot of leather getting thrown. She likes to brawl and I like to fight those types of girls. Active fights are the most fun.
CS: Kobold is also coming off a long layoff, are you expecting that to affect her game? What are your expectations of the bout?
TE: I don’t know what to think about her, she’s probably been training so I’m sure she’s going to be strong as ever. I think she’s going to do what she does in every fight, she’s going to be aggressive and on the offense the whole fight.
TE: Well I’m good at catching mistakes and I will catch your mistake every time, as long as I stay on my game then I see myself wining. I plan on out working her in every aspect of the game along with just being a more composed fighter.
CS: As a true veteran of the sport, you have fought for virtually every organization known. What do you think an organization such as Invicta that only features women does for the sport?
TE: I think it’s great, I’ve seen it done over and over but never hanging around very long. The female fights are exciting and it’s about time people see that and appreciate that. I think it’s not only great timing but the fact that Invicta was able to bring in the top talent from across the world. They throw great events in my opinion.
CS: What is your mood on fight night? Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to perform?
TE: Yes I have tons, but if I tell you and one of those things goes wrong, well you will be to blame and we all know you don’t want that.
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
TE: I like a corner that is freaking loud as hell, someone that can walk me through simple things and keep me motivated. I need to be reminded of a few certain things during my fight..
CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
TE: I really don’t watch much unless its a certain person I want to watch.
CS: Outside of the gym and MMA, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
TE: I pretty much am down for anything, my friends are active as hell so I’m always doing something.
CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
TE: My sponsors: Fight Labs, Tap or Sleep, Dynamic Life Chiropractic and The Ink Spot.
TE: My team at Finney’s Hit Squad in St Louis, Mo.
TE: Everyone else that is helping me get ready, Stephanie Alba, Owen Evinger, Scott Ward, Jesse Finney, Jerod Phillips, and MVC Management.