Invicta FC newcomer Stephanie Eggink steps right into the fire when she faces off against Katja Kankaanpaa for the vacant Invicta FC World Strawweight title September 6th at Invicta FC 8.
Corey Smith: You have an extensive background in boxing, even fighting for the US National Team at one point. How did you first get started in Boxing? Was that your first entry in martial arts?
Stephanie Eggink: I started boxing when I was 16 and I fell in love. I had done Tae Kwondo when I was young but most of my life I played soccer. When I walked into the boxing gym for the first time I knew I had found my sport.
CS: You took a few bouts as professional boxer, but quickly transitioned in MMA. What prompted the switch?
SE: I got bored with boxing. Not discrediting the sport at all, but I was 21 and restless. I was sick of doing the same thing in the gym all the time. And, I realized how much more fun it is to sit on top of someone and punch them than do it standing.
CS: Other than obvious rule differences, what would you say is the biggest difference between MMA and Boxing?
SE: Wrestling and ground game are obviously not part of boxing, and a huge part of MMA. Luckily I took to BJJ very quickly so the transition to the ground was ok, but the in between stuff (wrestling) was more of a challenge to conform to, and I’m still working on it. But, both are combat sports, where someone is trying to hurt you and you them. There’s a lot of parallels there, ones you can’t find in any other sports.
CS: Your nickname “Snowflake” is rather unique to the world of MMA. How did that come about?
SE: Long story, one I can’t really share with you, but Sam Wilson started calling me that when I was still fighting ammy and it stuck. You can try to get the story out of her if you want to! What I tell people is that I’m unique, like a snowflake!
CS: Your upcoming bout at Invicta FC 8 will mark an exactly one year layoff for you. Do you have any concerns with ring rust? How does winning one title prepare you to win another?
SE: Ring rust is a real thing but that typically gets shaken off in the gym. I feel confident right now, the fact that I haven’t fought doesn’t mean I haven’t been training. School took precedence over fighting for this past year, and I don’t regret that at all. Having prepared for a title fight before helped me for this camp, I know what kind of shape I need to be in, but my last fight only lasted one round so I have never gone a full 5 before. Should be interesting!
CS: You will be facing Katja Kankaanpaa at Invicta FC 8 on September 6th for the vacant Invicta FC Strawweight championship. How familiar are you with Kankaanpaa and what should fans expect out of the bout?
SE: I think its going to be fight of the night. She is very aggressive, I am very elusive. Our opposite styles will make for a good fight. She is strong and good at what she does, but so am I.
CS: What is your mood on fight night? Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to perform?
SE: I’m calm and collected right now, I feel very confident in my skill set. As far as superstitious stuff…this is kind of weird…but I always shave my entire body (other than my head) before I fight. Haha. I don’t know why but I have done it since I was just boxing and it makes me feel like I’m preparing my body for battle. Weird, I know.
CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
SE: My dad is always in my corner, he has been since my first pro boxing fight. He doesn’t coach me but he is always there, my biggest support. Other than him Shayna Baszler has been in my corner for my past 3 fights and will be this time as well, she is a book of knowledge and the best coach I have ever had. Also, my striking coach Luke will be in my corner, I just started working with him this camp. Shayna’s wrestling and MMA knowledge and his striking knowledge will compliment each other well.
CS: Lastly outside of the gym, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
SE: Between working as a medic and training, I don’t have a whole lot of time for extra activities! I am excited to be able to some time off and do things I enjoy, like hiking and rock climbing, after this camp is over. However, I do read a lot, every night before bed. Historical non fiction is my genre of choice (I’m a nerd).
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. Click below for tickets, or to subscribe to UFC FightPass.