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Jabs and Jaws: Interview with Stephanie "The Shark" Gonzalez
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Article By Grace Keister

Stephanie Gonzalez is a 24 year old dedicated fighter from Southern California. She trains at SoCal Fight Factory in Palmdale, CA coached by Chris Sparks, Fritz Rodriguez and Sumpan Boonsook. Stephanie "The Shark" Gonzalez has the work ethic and passion for fighting that makes all of us at Fighter Girls excited to have her representing the sport of women's MMA. She hopes to one day soon be fighting pro at Invcita and we can't wait to root her on when she is!

FighterGirls: What type of fighting do you train in?
Stephanie: I train in boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (blue belt) and Muay Thai.

FG: How long have you been fighting?
S: I have been training for about 5 years in MMA and started competing a year and a half ago.

FG: What got you interested in MMA and fighting?
S: I initially began in a women's cardio kick boxing class. I have been an athlete my whole life but I was looking to try something new. I googled kickboxing in my local area and found a gym near by. I went to check it out and tried the class that same night. I kept going and eventually it led me to doing three back to back classes every night. Management took notice of me and offered me to try Muay Thai. Muay Thai led to BJJ and boxing and the rest is history. My gym is my second home and owe my successes to them. (SoCal Fight Factory)

FG: What is your favorite fighting style?
S: It's hard to say but I would say Muay Thai and BJJ. Muay Thai came easy for me and I could understand it because I played soccer my entire life, kicking was natural to me. I like BJJ because it was a whole new world. The only type of submission fighting I knew was that of WWE (she laughs). BJJ teaches you to use muscles not normally used and is effective for even small girls like me.

FG: What is a typical day of training for you like?
S: Everyday is a different day for me. I work 12 hr shifts with a rotating schedule. Typically, I get off my long shift and run to my gym to either BJJ or Muay thai for a few hours then back home to eat, bed and get ready for the next long shift. On my off day I train 2-3 sessions. Normally early morning conditioning, afternoon MMA/boxing and BJJ and Muay Thai at night.

FG: With a jam packed training routine, you must keep your diet pretty tight too. What is your cheat/guilty pleasure you allow yourself?
S: Ohh man, anyone who really knows me, knows that my life is not complete without buffalo chicken wings. It's the first thing I eat after a fight and the food I miss the most when cutting.

FG: How do you feel as a woman in a male dominated sport?
S: In all honesty, I feel this is where my confidence comes from. I have always been the type of girl that wants to do what the boys are doing. I've never been a pink and fluffy type of girl. I am very competitive. I have brothers and have played on all the boys teams growing up. WMMA is on the rise and I am not only proud, but blessed to be a small contribution to the sport.

FG: What do you feel is the greatest hardship for women in MMA?
S: Simply, there is not enough of us. I have one other girl in our gym that competes and has done very well. But we're both working girls and trying to synch schedules is almost impossible. It's not like the guys where you have many different partners. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for my male partners but I wish I had more girls to train with.

FG: Your nickname as a fighter is The Shark. How did you get that?
S: It was given to me after my second fight I won via TKO. The name The Shark has kinda taken over (she laughs). I refer to it on Facebook and Instagram , I like to share my work out songs with my followers and call it "Shark tank music" . We also say "Shark bait ooh aha" at my fights or rolling on the mats. (Follow Stephanie on Instagram #sharkbabeoohlala)

FG: What has been your favorite fight?
S: All my fights have a story behind them or have taught me something. From my winning streak, to the first female AMMY champion in my state to my first loss. My Tuff-N-Uff title 115 title situation . I can't say that I have a favorite fight but I will say I love the journey MMA has put me on.

FG: What does the future hold for you in the world of MMA?
S: As of now I am 5-2 in the amateurs. I feel that is a big accomplishment. I am looking to turning pro and with hard work I will continue as a successful fighter.

FG: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
S: I've read all the Harry Potter books about 5 times each!
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