She is one of the toughest submission fighters on the planet, and she is debuting in the cage this Friday.
Sheila Bird has won multiple world championships in FILA, and just recently won Gold at the World Combat Games in Bejing China this past August. Now she is set to take on MMA, as she faces another debuting MMA fighter, kickboxer Tanya Byrne, at the Unified MMA 7 event in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
She talked to us on the Women Talk Sports podcast about her transition to MMA.
Bird’s motivation is similar to what Olympic Silver medalist Sara McMann had told us a few months ago, she wanted a new mountain to climb.
“I wanted to stay motivated,” Bird admitted. “After the last tournament that I was in, in Bejing, China at the World Combat Games, I really excited about training my striking again and I started to do that for a month or two and I said ‘I need a little bit of a change.’”
Bird is based out of Calgary’s BDB Martial Arts, and is currently training with UFC fighter Nick Ring. The gym is well rounded, and although she has been training grappling most of her career, the transition into doing kickboxing was something that didn’t take long to overcome.
“Getting hit never bothered me,” Bird expressed. “It helps is you aren’t gun shy right off the bat, you are more likely to do it. That’s how I transitioned; getting into kickboxing, and now I’m putting it all together.”
A lot of top notch grapplers that Bird competed against in the past are in the sport of MMA, including the afore mentioned Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler. If there is one fighter that Sheila Bird looks towards as an example of being able to do MMA and grappling, it’s Tara LaRosa.
“I really respect her as an MMA fighter,” Bird admitted. “I am thinking about talking to her before my fight this weekend and hear any words of advice she has to say.”
“I really respect her work effort.”
It is expected the Bird will be making a huge impact in the 135 pound division. She admitted that she still has a ways to go, however. With this match Friday, she is hoping to take that first step into her new and hopefully successful career.
“I am making MMA my priority, but I am taking it one fight at a time,” Bird stated. “I am fully expecting that I get in the cage on Friday, I’m going to have a fight, and I am going to love it. I am going to come out of there really pumped.”