A natural athlete from her youth, Florida’s Delaney Owen looks to remain undefeated when she joins fellow Invicta newcomer J.J. Aldrich in the cage September 6th at Invicta FC 8.
Corey Smith: Before picking up martial arts, you were interested in becoming a professional triathlete, before your body essentially shut down. What was that situation like for you?
Delaney Owen:That was a scary time; no one really knew what was wrong with me. I was tired all the time and after I was diagnosed they told me I shouldn’t compete in sports anymore. I was devastated.
CS: What led you to become interested in martial arts?
DO: I went with a friend to try out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I wanted to learn self defense. I really had little idea what it was about just that it was good for small people.
CS: What keeps you involved in it today?
DO: The power to walk through life without fear.
CS: Highlander MMA in Tampa is the gym you call home. What is the atmosphere like there?
DO: Well it’s been my only school, and my only instructor. I’ve trained with other people and schools the phrase “old school” comes to mind.
DO: Professor Yanez was fortunate enough to train under Professor Jorge Popovitch father of ADCC champion Pablo Popovitch, who at the time was just a purple belt when Yanez came to their academy. Yanez took from him that same attitude; he treats his students like family.
CS: What made you want to call it home?
DO: Professor Yanez is a very intense person; he’s brash at times and outspoken. He’s very misunderstood. As they say the best masters are the ones that sacrifice everything for the art they love.
DO: He has believed in me from the start, and he has been a mentor and my best friend. I barley recognize the girl I was that walked into the class the first day, I watch martial arts movies now and realize “wow I’m a martial artist.”
CS: You spoke several years ago about how your goal was to fight for Invicta FC. What do you think it means for female athletes to have a promotion that features only women?
DO: I remember watching Invicta and thinking how cool it must be to be one of these girls, for women how empowering to have an organization like this in a once male dominated sport.
CS: After achieving your goal and signing with Invicta, how has your experience been like thus far with the company?
DO: I watched Julie Kedzie in Hook n Shoot DVDs I thought she was really sweet. I liked her and the way she changed in the ring, now she sends me emails lol. I admit I will be a little star struck it’s just awesome to think I’m part of this group of amazing athletes.
CS: Your opponent at Invicta FC 8, JJ Aldrich, is making her professional debut against you. Do you believe that gives you any kind of advantage?
DO: Everyone has an advantage over me. 3 1/2 years ago I didn’t even know what UFC, Jiu Jitsu , or cage fighting existed. Most of these girls have been in martial arts for over 10 years. I just train hard and let my coaches worry bout those things.
CS: What are you expecting out of the bout?
DO: I have never been the first fight of the night before, I’m sure it will be exciting and loud from anticipation.
CS: You have stated that you have to find something to dislike in your opponent in order to fight them effectively. Why do you believe that is?
DO: Ha ha! That was a specific opponent. If a girl wants to make things personal so be it let’s dance! I’ve always been the nice girl the loyal friend until you do me wrong, then watch out!
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage?
DO: My Coach and fiancé Mike Yanez and his brown belt Trent Lally, who has been to a lot of my most important fights.
CS: What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
DO: We need a chapter for that lol! I know that silence is good!
CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
DO: Every fight from the fights on AXSTv to UFC. I support local MMA in the state of Florida and I even judge sometimes. Even old fights are better then some basketball or baseball finals live on TV. I watched live fights on New Year’s Eve, and I’ve watched them on the internet live from Japan at 5am.
CS: Outside of the gym and MMA, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun?
DO: Watching fights at the bars with my teammates. I go to the beach sometimes but really I love to train.
CS: What helps you to relax?
DO: Patron Margaritas! Sometimes really just 11 hours of sleep at a time is perfect.
CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
DO: My fiancé Mike Yanez , all my Highlander Fight Team, my family, my sponsors, NALADOG, Brawl & Maul, Titan Medical, Covenant Business Solutions, The Press Box sports bar, Byrd & Gonzalez Attorney at Law, and South Tampa Smiles.
DO: My boxing instructor Chevelle Hallback.
DO: Fight fans can follow me on Twitter at @scrappydl, on Instagram at lilscrappydl and at my Facebook fan page, Delaney “lil Scrappy” Owen.
Invicta FC 8 takes place September 6th live from the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. The full card will air live via UFC Fight Pass.