An international student of all martial arts, Australian Alex Chambers will make her Invicta FC debut April 5th against undefeated fellow Strawweight Jodie Esquibel at Invicta FC 5.
Starting to study karate as a child, martial arts is a lifestyle for Chambers, and she has grown into a well rounded fighter beginning to find her place in the world of MMA. Part of a three fighter Australian invasion at Invicta along with Bec Hyatt and Fiona Muxlow, Chambers will be looking to make a successful US debut on April 5th.
Corey Smith: I understand there is some family history in martial arts. Is that what first drew you martial arts? What keeps your competing in the sport now?
Alex Chambers: Yeah, my uncle always brings up training with Chuck Norris (briefly) and has kinda become a family joke. When I was a child he (my uncle) got me and my cousins into karate because he thought it was important to learn self defense and also the underlying values inherent in traditional/classical martial arts (discipline, self-confidence, etiquette, etc.).
AC: While as a kid I was really happy on my karate planet doing that, MMA has become a whole universe for me to explore. That’s what has kept my interest. Having said that I do still think it’s important not to forget where you came from, otherwise you get lost.
CS: You previously stated that MMA is a lifestyle for you, not a trend. What did you mean by that?
AC: Just the same as when I did Karate as a child, it went through a phase of hype where people did it just to do it, because everyone else was doing it. While its great MMA is taking off and becoming really popular it has also led to people doing it for the wrong reasons.
CS: It’s common for fighters to have a home gym, but also to take a few weeks to train somewhere else. Who or where was someplace or someone that you learned much more than you were expecting to?
AC: While I have learnt many good things traveling, the biggest thing I get out of it is being able to get a bit of perspective (of where my level is at) and refreshes my interest in training again (a change in environment, commitments, training partners etc). It also makes me appreciate how good my gym is and how good my coaches are.
CS: You have trained many times in Japan, with among others Megumi Fujii, what advantage is there to training in Japan?
AC: It’s a different way of training over there and its not often I get to train with girls of a similar weight (or any weight for that matter), and for the girls to be some of the best fighters in the world, makes the experience even more unique.
AC: Obviously training with Megumi Fujii at her gym AACC in Tokyo Japan has been the highlight of my experience training elsewhere at another gym. I didn’t realize I would have such direct training with one of the best MMA fighters in the world. I really wasn’t expecting that. She also has some of the top ranked female fighters in the world training in her team, which makes the experience even more invaluable.
AC: I remember the first time I visited AACC sitting on the side watching Megumi Fujii warming up, I couldn’t believe my eyes, I had seen her on video, on the internet, and to see her training in person was so surreal. To actually be able to train with her was a dream come true.
CS: What are the major differences between fighting in Japan and fighting in Australia?
AC: In terms of the rules of the actual fights, the ground and pound rules vary (with special rules required for ground and pound in Japan for female MMA promotion Jewels, and usually only allowed for championship matches).
AC: In terms of the overall experience, because martial arts is a big part of Japanese history and culture the crowds and the whole is experience is so different and whilst they still like a big KO, they also appreciate the complexities of the different disciplines of martial arts in MMA.
AC: Which we are now seeing the crowds appreciate and understand more and more outside of Japan too. It was a real honor to get the opportunity to fight on a card in Japan, and I would definitely like to again one day.
CS: You are among several fighters for Invicta that hail from Australia, Bec Hyatt and Fiona Muxlow being the others. How small is the MMA community in Australia? Or is it similar to the US, with fight camps all over the country?
AC: Aussie invasion at Invicta FC 5, pretty cool huh! With the popularity of MMA growing, there seems to be a lot of MMA gyms popping up all over the country. Recently a UFC gym opened up in Sydney which seems to be developing even more interest.
AC: However, I don’t think it is as developed here as the USA just yet. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a few quality MMA camps over here, just not as many.
CS: On the subject of the US, you are very familiar with the United States having visited countless times, but have never fought here. Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to when you make your stateside debut on April 5th?
AC: Getting my hand raised is number 1. I’m really looking forward to meeting and getting to know some of the other fighters. I might have to make a stop on the West Coast, sad to say I need a fix of In and Out Burger. I’m also going to see New York City for a few days whilst I’m there. All my other visits have been on the West Coast so I’m really excited to go there.
CS: Leading up to your most recent fight, you were ill beforehand. How much did that affect you considering you were still able to secure a win? Do you think your opponent was aware of your illness?
AC: You never fight at 100 percent, and can’t expect to. There can always be something bothering you if you let it. As soon as the cage door closes and you get that adrenalin rush, you soon overcome/forget any illness or injury.
CS: This will be your first fight for Invicta FC. How has your experience been so far with the company?
AC: It’s been great. They are very organized and professional and from watching all their previous fight cards Invicta looks like an awesome promotion. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to fight for them, so I will be giving it my all come fight time.
CS: Your opponent on April 5th, Jodie Esquibel, has less MMA bouts on her record than you, but brings a large amount of boxing experience with her. What are you expecting out of the bout?
AC: She is undefeated in MMA and you never really know the full depth of experience fighters may have outside of MMA. I’m definitely not underestimating the challenge.
CS: When you are in the cage, what do you expect from your corners? Do you allow all your corners to coach, or do you have a main voice that you look to?
AC: I do have a main coach, Liam Resnekov, so he is the one I listen to when I am fighting.
CS: Outside of preparation for your fights, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
AC: I try not to miss any big promotions either in the USA or in Japan. Luckily with the internet now, being able to get PPV on it I am able to see most events live, which we didn’t used to be able to do here in Australia. We would have to go to a local bar to watch it via satellite. Of course I also like to get to any local promotions that are being held and support Australian MMA.
CS: When you aren’t in the gym or the cage, what types of activities do you enjoy? How do you mentally unwind after a long day of camp?
AC: Growing up on the beach I find it a really relaxing place to go to unwind, even if it is just a walk or sitting on the sand watching the waves and surfers. I also play a bit of Black Ops (Call of Duty) occasionally, but I don’t know if I consider that unwinding!
CS: Lastly, MMA is as much an individual sport, as it is a team sport. Who would you like to thank?
AC: Definitely couldn’t have the opportunities I have today without such a great team of coaches, training partners and friends behind me. My head coaches Liam and Dylan Resnekov at VT1 Mixed Martial Arts academy (vt1mma.com.au).
AC: Also coaches Eddy, Graham, Adam and Jeff for their time and effort. All my training partners and friends at VT1, you guys are awesome (thanks for putting up with me).
Special thanks to training partner Glen for always being there for me. My strength and conditioning Coach Jason Gulati of Real Training (real-training.com.au) for always getting me fighting fit and strong.
AC: Thank you to my sponsors Level Clothing, and Tussel FightGear for their continuous support. Also thank you to my new sponsor Bloodbath Fightwear (www.bloodbath.com.au). Thank you to Kya Pate of Brace for War for supporting WMMA in Australia.
AC: Last but not least, thank you to the fans, you guys are awesome!