If the expression “Iron sharpens iron,” is true, then veteran Sarah D’Alelio should be as sharp as they come when she enters into the Invicta cage July 13thagainst Lauren Taylor at Invicta FC 6.
Having fought and trained with some of the best athletes on the planet, D’Alelio will be making her fifth appearance in the Invicta cage. A true lover of the ‘art’ in Martial Arts, Sarah will look to paint a picture for all of the Bantamweight division to see on July 13th.
Corey Smith: It was written that when you were young, you had a neighbor that practiced karate. After seeing him show off things he learned, it stirred an interest in you. Years later you took up Jiu Jitsu in 2007. What kept your interest so long, and how did it feel to finally begin learning martial arts?
Sarah D’Alelio: The art itself is just so interesting and physical; I just always thought martial arts were so beautiful. To be honest when you first start training in an art it’s really frustrating until you feel yourself do something right the first time.
CS: You turned pro in 2010, a few years after you began training. What led you to believe that you were ready to turn pro?
SD: My coaches told me it was time. And we couldn’t get any more amateur fights.
CS: You train out of the CombatSportsAcademy, and also with Cesar Gracie. What is the relationship like between the two gyms? What areas do you focus on at each gym?
SD: I do all of my training at CSA but we have a great relationship with Cesar Gracie; he comes and guest teaches from time to time for us and that’s really special to get to learn technique from an instructor of his caliber.
CS: One of your main training partners, Miriam Nakamoto, is a world champion Muay Thai fighter. How beneficial do you think it is to have training partners whose skills seemingly offset each other?
SD: Oh man it doesn’t get any better than that. We tell each other what we would do in a particular situation and then trade tactics. To have that kind of insight available to you makes for a very dangerous opponent I think.
CS: For most of your career, you have been considered an underdog “on paper” yet you continue to shock most pundits. What does that type of reaction bring out of you, always being considered the underdog?
SD: It makes for a pretty pressure free fight. I don’t have to worry about living up to anyone’s expectations of me.
CS: All three of your losses have been at the hands of high level opponents. What have you learned from those losses?
SD: The biggest thing I brought out of my losses is to listen to your corner. Don’t be a dummy and think you know better than them. HaHa.
CS: With your phoenix tattoo, you seem to be tailored made to fight for Invicta FC. How has your relationship been like with the company so far?
SD: I have nothing but good things to say about Invicta. They’ve always been great to me and I absolutely love Shannon and Janet.
CS: You have fought on four of the first five Invicta events. What is it like to fight for a promotion that features only women, compared to a promotion were they are an occasional attraction?
SD: It makes you feel like a true athlete, and not just a commodity.
CS: Invicta has a reputation of putting on exciting cards top to bottom. Do you feel any extra pressure to add to that reputation when you fight for them?
SD: I try not to think about it that way. Shannon and Janet are the bosses and I just want to make them happy.
CS: Your opponent at Invicta FC 6, Lauren Taylor, is coming off two impressive wins in under a month’s time. How familiar are you with her skills? What are you expecting out of the matchup?
SD: I think I understand her game plan well and I have no expectations for this fight. Just going to keep it open and see where the fight goes.
CS: When you are in the cage, what type of instruction do you like to hear from your corner? Who generally accompanies you into the cage?
SD: I don’t know you’re going to have to ask Kirian about that one. He’s the one there with me.
CS: Outside of the gym, what keeps you entertained? How do you unwind after a long day of training camp?
SD: Well I spend most of my waking hours at the gym, in between sessions it helps to have Netflix available on my phone. I love to read but when I find a really good book I forget the time and have been known to stay up all night reading. That’s not good when sleep is so important to a good day of training so I stick to movies during camp.
CS: Other than the weight cut before a fight, what is the hardest aspect of being a professional fighter?
SD: Putting your life on hold. It’s really hard to maintain normal relationships during a fight camp and most people don’t understand and have the patience for it.
CS: When you look back on your career many years from now, when the lights have dimmed, and the roar of the crowd faded, what do you hope you have accomplished?
SD: Just that I reached my full potential.
CS: Lastly, MMA is as much a team sport as it is an individual one. Who would you like to thank?
SD: My family, they’re 100 % behind me.
SD: My entire team at CSA, they’re also 100 % behind me. My manager Alessandro Gelke, always professional and always there when I need anything.
SD: Brawl and Maul fight gear, they are the best sponsors I could ask for. Everyone’s been great this fight camp.
SD: And if course the entire team at Invicta for giving us ladies a permanent home.