Undefeated Jacksons’ MMA prospect, Norma Rueda Center will make her Invicta FC debut on July 13th as a late replacement opponent for Scottish striker Joanne Calderwood at Invicta FC 6.
Bringing her “dark passenger” into the ring with her, Center will attempt to remain undefeated after turning pro in March. Center is ready to put the division on notice; there is a new lion in town, and she is ready to hunt her prey.
Corey Smith: What initially drew you to the world of Mixed Martial Arts? What discipline did you begin training in first?
Norma Rueda Center: My husband, DustinCenter, (boyfriend at the time) introduced me to MMA. In 2011, Dustin was getting ready for his second pro fight in Kentucky for Absolute Action MMA. There were flyers going around advertising the next fight card including the “famous” Kim Couture. I saw the flyer and started telling my buddies, “I am going to fight this girl.”
NRC: A week later I was training in Son of Siam, KY. I loved BJJ, because I come from a wrestling background. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the world of Muay Thai.
NRC: They tried getting me the fight against Couture but in the end, I didn’t get the fight. However, I was able to get a fight with a local girl who was 3-0. Despite her MMA experience, I decided I wanted to fight.
CS: How did training at Jackson’s MMA come about and how soon did you begin training there?
NRC: After a couple of fights, I began training in Dayton MMA with Michael Patt. Patt’s team made me feel like part of a team, and it is here where decided I wanted to take it to the next level. With the Ohio gloomy days, I grew homesick and I missed my family. You can say I am weak sauce, I guess, but I missed the desert.
NRC: So many things had happened; I married Dustin and had a couple more fights. In a toll of continuing our MMA career, we both decided to pack up our things and head to Albuquerque, NM. It was a rough drive from Ohio to New Mexico, but we were too excited. We began training a week soon after we arrived to Albuquerque.
CS: Many Jackson’s MMA students have stated that the diversity and depth of knowledge, not just from its coaches but from fellow fighters, is Jacksons biggest strength. Would you agree? What keeps you training at Jackson’s?
NRC: I couldn’t agree more. If one of the coaches can’t make it to practice, one of the fighters substitute for the day and we continue to do what we do every day – train like champions.
CS: After a perfect 5-0 record as an amateur, you took your first professional bout on just two days notice against Rachel Cummins. How did that bout come about? And what led you to believe that you were ready to turn pro?
NRC: Like I stated in the previous questions, we all help each other. My teammate Heather Clark, who now switched gyms to be close to family, told me about the fight. The rest of the girls and coaches Julie Kedzie, Jodie Esquibel agreed I was ready for this fight.
NRC: Furthermore, I had been asking everyone for a fight. So, I took advantage of the opportunity. Cummins is a great MMA fighter. It was our pro debut, so it was perfect.
CS: You will also be stepping in on late notice at Invicta FC 6 to face Joanne Calderwood. How familiar are you with Joanne? Was there any hesitation in taking the bout?
NRC: Well, at least this time, I have a short camp. I studied some of Calderwood’s fights and realized she is a vicious fighter. I like that. There’s no doubt we will be in a war for Invicta.
CS: How has your experience been like with Invicta thus far?
NRC: I am very content with Invicta’s decision of putting me part of this card in short notice. The third one (opponent) is the charm.
CS: At this point in your career, what are your goals going forward?
NRC: At this point in my MMA career, I am hungry. I’m a lion and going after my prey. It’s time to show the crowd a Mexican beat down.
CS: Most fighters list the weight cut as the hardest aspect of MMA. Aside from that, what do you consider the hardest aspect?
NRC: The weight cut should be the least of the worries. However there’s no doubt the hallucinations from the weight cut make you feel crazy. Neither does the crazy ever go away. Lol. To me, the hardest aspect is the performance a fighter does in the cage. I want to perform to the best of my potential.
CS: On fight night, what is your mindset? Do you have any routines that you perform? Any superstitions?
NRC: I’m Mexican so superstitions are always included in my routine; however I try not to think about them. I like to stay relaxed and focused on the things I want to do in the cage. When I walk into the cage, I am no longer NormaCenter. My dark passenger comes into play.
CS: Who will be accompanying you to the cage on July 13th? What type of feedback do you prefer from your coaches?
NRC: Well, the plan is not yet confirmed. Usually, my husband is at my corner but he decided to step back this time. He gets too nervous. Whoever is in my corner, I would like them to yell out winning techniques.
CS: Outside of the cage, what types of activities do you enjoy? What helps you to make it through a long training camp?
NRC: I enjoy keeping my feet on land. I like trekking; there are some many places I would like to see. With the company of my husband, I enjoy going to other countries. I love socializing with strangers, along with a cheap beer of course.
NRC: I always like an adventure, no matter what happens. As for “what helps you to make it through a long training camp?” Hmmm… I shall find out when I do have one. I’m going to guess, ultimately, the outcome my performance and fight.
CS: How much MMA do watch purely for enjoyment?
NRC: Let’s just say that when there are fights going on, those are our “date” nights. We go out quite often.
CS: Lastly, MMA is as equally a team sport as it is an individual one. Who would you like to thank?
NRC: True. I have endless people to thank. It goes way back to when I started in Ohio and people really took the time to help me. I would like to thank all of those MMA promotions that embrace and support WMMA. Thank you to all the girls who step into the cage and kick ass!
NRC: Thank you to all my teammates, coaches, managers at Jackson’s MMA and Mean 1.
NRC: My supporting family and loving husband DustinCenter. Most importantly, the Lord because is with me at every step.
NRC: What the heck, I’ll just throw it out there. I would like to thank Ronda Rousey for almost breaking Meisha Tate’s arm. No pun intended. And you’re Welcome.
NRC: Checkout my Facebook page: NormaRuedaCenter
NRC: Twitter: @nrcenter