Audrey Pang is an amateur MMA fighter who will put her undefeated 4-0 record on the line on June 5th when she takes on Michelle Blalock for the Ring of Fire 125 lb Young Guns Belt at Ring of Fire: Ascension in Colorado.
Audrey currently lives in Chicago, IL and trains out of Team Colon MMA in Portage, IN. We got a chance to catch up with Audrey as she prepares for her upcoming fight.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where are you from originally? And how long have you been training in MMA?
A: I’m 27 and was born in Toronto, Canada. I started wrestling there when I was 13 years old and I just fell in love with the sport. I continued wrestling through college at Princeton University and on until 2008. I started cross-training with MMA while I was still wrestling but didn’t make the full switch until after the Olympics.
Q: How did you find your way to MMA?
A: Wrestling was my first love and really my only combat sport before getting into MMA. Before wrestling, I had competed in field hockey, flag football, volleyball, figure skating and was actually a pretty dedicated swimmer. I’d say I got seriously about wrestling when I was around 16 and focused exclusively on that right up until I turned 25. In 2007 I started working out with some wrestlers that also fought and slowly they started pulling me over to the dark side. After missing the Olympic team in 2008 I tried to retire from competition, but found that I got bored so I started working out more and more at the MMA gym and one day found myself in the cage! Since then I’ve really been focusing on rounding out my skills. My training now consists of jiu-jitsu, boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and MMA.
Q: Your current amateur MMA record is 4-0. Give us a quick rundown of your past fights and what belts you hold.
A: My first two fights I relied pretty heavily on my wrestling background. I took my opponents down and ended the fights pretty quickly in the first rounds with some ground and pound and rear naked chokes. After that, I settled in a little bit more and opened up my arsenal. My third fight was for the ISCF World Classic Flyweight belt against a kickboxer (Nicole Hess) that was something like 19-0 in kickboxing. That was probably my favorite fight to date. We went the distance and I was really able to stretch myself and push my limits. It was definitely a different feel having to watch out for those head kicks! My next one after that I won the KIAMA Flyweight belt. That was also a first round rear naked choke. I have more weapons, but if it’s there, I’ll take it!
Q: Your next fight is June 5, 2010 at Ring of Fire: Ascension in Colorado. Give us some more details about the event. Are there other female fights on the card?
A: I’m really looking forward to this one. It will be for the Ring of Fire Young Guns title against Michelle Blalock, who is 3-0. The Ring of Fire promotion looks great and they’ve really done a terrific job of promoting women’s MMA. The main event is actually another women’s pro fight at 125 lbs! Cat Albert, another former wrestler, will be fighting for the pro 125 lb belt. I believe they have a total of three women’s fights on the card and I think all of them will deliver some great action. I can’t wait to get out to Denver and show them what I can do.
Q: Without giving away your game plan, tell us a little about your approach to your upcoming fight with Michelle Blalock. What are you focusing on during your practices? Are you making any adjustments to prepare for the altitude difference you will experience in Colorado? Tell us about your mindset going into this fight.
A: I’m in the middle of the best training camp I’ve ever done. I actually quit my job a month ago and have been able to focus exclusively on training, which is absolutely phenomenal. I train MMA out of Team Colon at nights but have been able to supplement that with morning jiu-jitsu and boxing practices at Jeff Neal/Carlson Gracie Team and Chicago Boxing Club, as well as open mats at New Breed and Team Corral. I’m loving life.
As for the altitude, I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning and working out in restricted oxygen conditions to help prepare. I used to compete and train out at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, so I’m familiar with the altitude change. I am so prepared for this fight and am looking to surprise some people with my bag of tricks. That’s all I’m going to give you for my game plan, the rest you’ll just have to see for yourself June 5th!
Q: Do you want to eventually fight professionally? Tell us about your goals for yourself in the sport of MMA.
A: I’d love to fight professionally. I’d like to get a couple of more amateur fights in for the experience, but might have to make the move sooner rather than later just because they can be difficult to find. Ideally, my fighting weight is 115 lbs, but I’ve made the move up to 125 lbs a couple of times because that’s where I can fight more fights. That’s fine because I used to move back and forth between 112 lbs and 121 lbs when I wrestled and actually competed in the men’s 125 lbs division in college, but when I go pro, I’d like to move back down. As for my goals? Bellator has added a 115 lbs women’s tournament…
Q: When you aren’t training, what keeps you busy? Tell us about your professional and educational endeavors, as well as what you do for fun!
A: I worked as a trader on the floor of a stock exchange for 4 years after college and did a public interest fellowship after that. Talk about different experiences! I’m still trying to figure out what it is exactly that I want to do and I’m headed to business school at the University of Chicago in the fall. In the meantime, I am taking this summer off to train and travel. I absolutely love traveling and exploring new places and making new friends! My other hobbies are food, as in eating lots of it, and going out and dancing like a fool.
Q: Thanks for spending the time to talk to us and we wish you luck with your upcoming fight, as well as reaching your goals. We would love to see you in the Bellator 115 lb women’s tournament! Do you have anything else you’d like to add? Would you like to give any shout outs to any sponsors/coaches?
A: Thanks! And there are so many people to thank. My coach Steve Colon is the best and the number one reason why I am fighting now. He’s a great, dedicated coach and I have some amazing training partners at Team Colon. I also have to thank all the coaches and teams that have opened their doors to me like Jeff Neal/Carlson Gracie Team, Chicago Boxing Club, New Breed Jiu Jitsu, and Team Corral. Also my sponsor Subculture that provides me with my awesome fight shorts and shirt! And you! For being a great training partner and introducing me to so many people in MMA.