Amanda Haller training out of Crest Combat Conditioning in Grand Junction, Colorado is new to the women’s MMA scene with an interesting start-up. Haller competes in the NPC (National Physique Committee) as a body builder and works as a personal trainer at Fruita Health Club. Amanda fell in love with female mixed martial arts and with just over a year of training under her belt, she is out there learning the sport and fighting. With a love of women’s MMA and a determination that can’t be broken, Amanda Haller is a true Fighter Girl. Take a look at our interview with her and see how this buff beauty does it all!
FG: What was it that got you started in MMA?
Amanda: My dad is a boxing fanatic! Some of my earliest memories are of watching boxing with my dad. When I was young I told my dad I wanted to be a fighter so he got a heavy bag and taught me how to throw a punch. Years later I brought my kids into an MMA gym to try kickboxing, about a week later I was training there 5 days a week.
FighterGirls: Before MMA you started out as a bodybuilder competing in the NPC as well as working as a personal trainer. How did competing in the NPC prepare you for and bring you to MMA?
Amanda: I started out competing in the NPC. Within 6 months of my first competition I became a personal trainer about a year later started training MMA. I feel like because I had trained for and competed in the NPC the conditioning and diet aspect of MMA wasn’t as big of a shock for me. I was already used to weight lifting and high intensity cardio so training for shows has definitely helped me stay in shape while I am not training for a fight.
FG: How long have you been fighting and what type of fighting do you train in?
Amanda: I have been training for over a year but I took my first fight in January. I train in kickboxing, boxing, Jiu-Jitsu. I love cage work and ground and pound. I usually want to take it to the ground pretty quick.
FG: How do you feel as a woman in a male dominated sport?
Amanda: I think that most male fighters are accepting and supportive of female fighters. I primarily train with guys. When we train I am just another member of the team, they do not go easy on me or give me breaks, I am expected to go just as hard as they do. It is very empowering to train (or even out train) guys that are stronger and bigger then you. I would recommend training in a combative sport to any woman. Whether it’s to compete or just for fitness, knowing that you have the tools to defend yourself is an awesome feeling, you are really able to find out what you are made of.
FG: What do you feel is the greatest hardship for women in MMA?
Amanda: Being taken seriously and finding opponents
FG: Who do you feel doesn’t take women seriously in MMA?
I find that other fighters, male and female are extremely supportive and
absolutely take each other seriously. I feel it’s spectators who tend to take female fighters less seriously, but with women in the UFC now and organizations like Invicta things are starting to change.
FG: What is your nickname and how did you get it?
Amanda: Sweet tooth, I have a massive candy addiction!
FG: What has been your most exciting fight?
Amanda: My debut I fought Riri Whiting. It was easily one of the most exciting fights on the card. With 20 seconds left in the first round my arm was broke due to a key lock submission from guard.
FG: Ouch, a broken arms sounds like it could have been a set back. How did that effect your outlook?
Amanda: Having my arm broke in my first fight was a huge set back..I absolutely felt discouraged, but more importantly felt more motivated then ever. Not being able to train only made me want to train more. I think this injury truly tested my dedication to MMA and only made me realize how much I love this sport. Although I definitely wish the break hadn’t happened I have been able to learn a lot about myself. I know I will come back a completely different fighter. Healing is going great. I am back to where I left off with my training and will be fighting June 8th in Denver, Co.
FG: That’s great determination you have! What is it that drives you to continue fighting and training?
Amanda: I love this sport! I have never been so passionate about anything so it’s easy for me to get up and go to the gym or get into the cage for a fight, but lately there have been more and more young girls and teenagers in my gym. When they tell me they came in because they saw me fight or get excited when I help them train, it makes me realize how much good women’s MMA can do. It’s helping girls feel confident, strong, and empowered and that definitely drives me to continue.
FG: What does the future hold for you in the world of MMA?
Amanda: Going pro and holding a title is a must. I feel like MMA will always be a part of my life so a long term goal would be to open a gym and coach others.
FG: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Amanda: I am a total soccer mom (she laughs). I have a 9 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. My son has been wrestling since he was 3 and also participates in boxing classes. My daughter still trains Jui-Jitsu and judo. My kids are my biggest supporters, I couldn’t do any of this without them.