Happy to have a home that features her natural weight class, Felice Herrig is set to make her Invicta FC debut December 7th against rising prospect Tecia Torres.
A natural crowd pleaser inside and outside the cage, Herrig will rely on her veteran prowess to guide her through the storm at Invicta FC 7.
Corey Smith: When you step into the ring on December 7th, it will be roughly nine months since you last competed. Are you anticipating any type of ring rust?
Felice Herrig: No I have fought consistently for 13 years and have never stopped training so for me there is no such thing as ring rust. I think this little break was good for me because I really took this time off to focus on technique. Sometimes when you fight all the time you stay in shape but you don’t have time to just jump levels. Also it gave my body time to really heal up. I’m going to be very ready for this fight.
CS: With training camp injuries a common occurrence in MMA, how do you balance getting the full amount of training that you require but still guarding against injury? What does a typical day of training camp entail for you?
FH: Injuries are a part of the game and I have had many over the years but I’m fortunate to have stayed healthy *knock on wood. I’m not sure you can guard against it… accidents are never planned. My coach Jeff Curran runs a pretty tight ship so my weeks are scheduled out so that I get the balance I need for MMA as well as the focus for specific things I may need for the opponents I face. Typically I do 2 a days 6 days a week with one day off. We do live sparring twice a week and the rest of the sessions consist of wrestling, BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, pad work, conditioning, and MMA drilling.
CS: How important was it for you to sign with a promotion that featured your natural weight class?
FH: I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know I am with an organization that has a roster of fighters that I know will not just be in my weight division but also make weight. I have had many of my fights outside of my division because there simply wasn’t anyone else to fight. Even in my kickboxing days I had to fight up a lot. Having to fight people like Munah Holland, Barb Honchak, Jessica Rakoczy, and Satoko Sasaki, to name a few, is not fun at my size! What is great to see is how the sport has grown since then and many of the bigger girls I fought have now gone on to be very successful in their weight classes. Now with Invicta and WMMA on the rise we all have a home!
CS: For your Invicta FC debut, you will step into the cage with undefeated prospect, Tecia Torres. How familiar are you with Torres? What do you believe is the key to this bout?
FH: I am familiar with Tecia only because I have seen her come up through Invicta and she is very exciting. She reminds me a lot of myself. Always comes forward and likes to throw. For me the key to this fight I think is just my overall experience. I know she has said she feels like she has the edge over me in every part of the game but I know 100% that is not true.
FH: I have fought a lot of world class fighters in both kickboxing and MMA so she isn’t going to show me anything I haven’t seen before. The striking department is obviously where we will be most competitive, but I have a big reach advantage and I know how to use it. If she gets close to me and it goes to the ground I am very confident in my wrestling and BJJ. Actually I think if it goes to the ground it will be because I take it there. People always underestimate my ground game, and that is always a mistake.
CS: Most fighters list the weight cut as the hardest aspect of being a fighter. Setting that aside, what do you consider the hardest aspect of being a fighter?
FH: For me the weight cut is not hard. I never really take time off from training so I rarely get too far off weight. For me the hardest part of fighting is the mental side. It doesn’t matter who you are fighting, its always nerve wracking thinking about “what if factor” and that compounds with the waiting around for fight day to come. Those nerves keep me sharp and drive me to push it hard in the gym though. As soon as the cage shuts all the nerves are gone. I just want to fight now!
CS: What is your mood on fight night? Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to perform?
FH: I’m very calm on fight night. I like to stick close to my team. I am always looking for little signs before fights… it could be a song, it could be a bulldog or even something that pops up related to my theme/outfit for that fight. Not sure of those are superstition or just things to keep my mind positive. Lastly I always make the commission person draw a smiley face on my wraps when he checks them.J Other than that I just visualize the fight and listen to music.
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
FH: My coach Jeff Curran is usually always in my corner as well as my manager Brian Butler. Jeff gives me confidence and Brian keeps me calm. Jeff is great in the corner because I can always hear his voice clearly. For the most part all the work was done in camp but he gives me just the right reminders at just the right times which make me feel very confident.
CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment? Anyone in particular that you are a fan of?
FH: I just recently got cable TV in my apartment and I watch most of the big shows. I have so many friends in the sport that one of them is usually fighting on any given card. It’s always exciting to watch people fight you are friends with and nerve wracking at the same time! I know, not the greatest answer but that’s it.
CS: Most fans love to give fighters advice before a fight. What is the best advice you have ever received before a fight?
FH: Oh gosh… let’s see now, “Keep your hands up” ha-ha. No seriously just seeing the fans supporting through camp and knowing they are excited is the best motivator. Some fans can be overboard and creepy at times but all in all I have great fans and I love them all.
CS: Your coach orders you to take a day off from training and bars you from the gym. How are you spending that day?
FH: Hahaha giving me the day off, that’ll be the day… Buuuut if he did, it would probably consist of sleeping, cleaning, reading, preparing meals for the week, interacting with fans, designing future fight outfits, sleeping… *sometimes spoiling myself and shopping.
CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
FH: I have so many people to thank because without them to support me I wouldn’t make it and I’m feeling really sappy right now so I’m going to do a “thank you” like I would on camera after a fight if my mind didn’t go blank haha! Ready!?!? Ok here we go!
FH: My team at Team Curran MMA, especially Joey Diehl, he shows up for everything for me and my needs above his own when I’m in camp… very unselfish. Love you Joey xoxo. I couldn’t ask for a better team or facility to train in. I actually think Team Curran fighters are spoiled, especially the ones that have never trained anywhere else because our gym is so nice and the program my head coach Jeff Curran has built is just really incredible. I really believe we have the best gym in the country.
FH: I have to thank my Thai coach Ian Alexander and my boxing coach Shannon States, they both give me so much special attention and I appreciate every minute with them.
FH: I can’t forget my manager Brian Butler at SuckerPunch Entertainment. So many fighters these days don’t realize the importance of good management and take it for granted. I’ve been around long enough to know that my manager has made a huge impact on my career as well as many others and often doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
FH: Lastly I would like to thank my sponsors who have supported me through thick and thin. Alienware computers and Cody Norris you know you hold a special place in my heart and I am thankful to associated with your brand. Allmax Nutrition and Jason Bell, it’s been so great getting to know the team and the fitness industry and I am so glad to be with a brand that puts out such quality supplements. Americana MMA for making my cool signature shirts. Dom Fight Gear for keeping me in a Gi, SoldierFit for believing in me for over 2 years now, Battleware for introducing me to the tactical industry, and RevGear for keeping me geared up in training.