Lighting Liz McCarthy makes her third appearance in the Invicta cage when she returns to battle Amber Brown November 1st at Invicta FC 9.
Corey Smith: What initially prompted your interest in mixed martial arts? What made it something that you wanted to stick with?
Liz McCarthy: When I was in college I took a class, I think it was Tae Kwon Do or something really basic, but I don’t think that really had anything to do with me getting into MMA. After that I started doing Jiu Jitsu, and I really liked it, and then started getting into Kickboxing. From there I decided I wanted to fight.
LM: When I first started with Jiu Jitsu, I signed up at this all girl’s Jiu Jitsu gym in Portland which is kind of unique. It was a really fun environment for a girl just starting to get good, because you were always going against girls. So I started getting competitive doing that, and then I did some No-Gi grappling tournaments, and I had a lot fun competing in those. So from there I was doing kickboxing, and since grappling tournaments were fun why not try fighting.
CS: After training out of Team Quest in Portland, Oregon for several years, you recently made the move to Las Vegas where you train out of Syndicate MMA. What is the gym atmosphere like there?
LM: It’s different. It’s a change from Portland. There are a lot of people that come in through the gym when they are travelling, so you see a lot of different faces. When they have a UFC card in town, people will come the week beforehand to get ready for their fight, or they’ll come because they have training partners fighting, so it’s a different atmosphere. We see big names all the time, which is cool.
LM: We moved to Vegas because we decided that if I really wanted to take fighting seriously, I needed new training partners, and more girls to train with. Vegas just seemed like the best place to start with. There are so many gyms in such a small area, and there is a large group of girls there too.
CS: November 1st will mark you third appearance for Invicta FC. What has your experience been like with the company?
LM: So far the other two times that I fought for Invicta, I had a great experience. I know that it’s going to be a little different this time since it’s not in Kansas anymore, this card is in Iowa. I’m excited to see how things are going to go with it being in a new location, but so far my relationship with Shannon and Invicta has always been really positive.
CS: What were your initial thoughts when you learned of the Invicta FightPass distribution deal?
LM: It’s really exciting. Hopefully Invicta will get a lot more exposure that way; I think Invicta was already gaining popularity. When you put something like that on a network where there are already a lot of fight fans, I think they can tap into that with Invicta. Hopefully we will just see the fan base grow, because hopefully people that weren’t familiar with Invicta have the opportunity to just log on and watch it on FightPass.
CS: Your opponent at Invicta FC 9, Amber Brown, brings a similar level of experience and background in boxing. What do you believe will be the key to your matchup?
LM: I know she is kind of a boxer, she likes to stand and bang like me, so I would guess we would both end up standing and swinging it out. You can always go in with whatever game plan you want, but when you get punched in the face things change quick.
CS: What is your mood on fight night? Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to perform?
LM: I don’t think I have any superstitions, but I like to spend a lot of time with my headphones. I’ll listen to a lot of music on fight day to keep my mood up. I try not to overthink about the fight until it’s actually time to warm up and get going. So I’ll try to focus on other things during the day for the most part, until it’s time to get going.
LM: The waiting is the worst part. If we could just fight tomorrow, it would be so much easier. With all the training for six weeks, then you just sit there and wait.
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
LM: I walk out with my coach John Heath. And as far as coach that is not overly excited in the cage. You see some coaches that are just screaming and yelling the whole time, and I respond better with someone that just says one thing clearly. Someone who uses key words that I can cue into. I will always have Coach Heath with me because I have been working with him for so long, and he knows the key words to use. But overall just a more calm coach.
CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
LM: If they have a card on, we are watching it. If it’s on TV, or it was on TV the day before and we have it on DVR, we watch. It all goes on the DVR and we watch it. UFC FightPass is the best thing ever because anytime we have down time we can watch something, watched some archived fight footage.
CS: Outside of the gym and MMA, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
LM: I like spending time with my dog, and I like going hiking. We try to do that a lot to switch it up. I also ride horses.
CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
LM: Big thanks to my sponsor Dragon Do Fight Gear.
LM: My strength and conditioning coach Mike at Dominate Your Game.
LM: My head coach John Heath, and my boxing coach Clayton Hires.
LM: And my training partners, including: Jamie Moyle and Roxanne Modafferi.
Invicta FC 9 takes place November 1st live from the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa.
Tickets are on sale via the Ticketmaster link below.
The full card will air live via UFC Fight Pass. Click below to subscribe to UFC FightPass.