I spoke with Mia St. John regarding her upcoming MMA debut in X1 World Events: Champions on FighterGirls.com PPV, the differences between training for a mixed martial arts fight and a boxing match, and her upcoming “retirement” from boxing.
Michael Hess: I am here with Mia St. John, who has a bout coming up against Rhonda Gallegoes on Saturday night from Hawaii, which will be shown on FighterGirls.com pay per view, are you excited about making your MMA debut?
Mia St. John: You know, I am always excited, I mean I’m always nervous and especially since this is my first MMA fight, I’m like “oooh” really nervous. But that’s ok, I am used to being nervous though.
MH: Obviously you are a veteran boxer, and that’s how the world got to know you originally, but you also have a history in Tae Kwon Doe, what has it been like training for your first mixed martial arts fight?
MSJ: Obviously the sports are completely different. Boxing, Tae Kwon Doe, and MMA, all three different sports. But the good thing is, you know in Tae Kwon Doe all the kicks are above the belt, so I wasn’t used to learning how to kick below the belt.
It was very difficult, but once I got the hang of it, it was fun, and the good thing is that I have very long limbs, so I always have that as an advantage. I always have the reach on my opponent. So whether it be legs or arms, that’s one good thing that I have going for me, and of course my experience is another thing.
MH: Who are you training with?
MSJ: As far as MMA I am with Mark Parra of House of Champions, but for boxing I am still with my regular guys.
MH: Robert Garcia?
MSJ: I am still with him, but just for MMA I go to House of Champions.
MH: How is training for a mixed martial arts fight different than training for your boxing matches?
MSJ: Oh, it’s very different. Obviously, the rounds, I mean that’s a given. Fight 3 minute rounds, where I’m used to going 10 two minute rounds, or actually three minutes rounds in sparring, and in a fight it’s two minute rounds. So it’s a lot different, but what I notice is with MMA I can always find little breaks to rest,
when I’m on the ground, and I want to take a breather, that’s possible. Whereas boxing, it’s not as likely because the rounds are so short. You just have to keep going no matter what. I also noticed that there’s a lot more injury in MMA, as far as to the body, not the head, but to the body, there’s a lot more injury. So I am
just trying to get used to that. (laughs) Not being able to walk for a couple of days. (laughs)
MH: What other styles have you focused on during your training?
MSJ: We are just learning a lot of jiu-jitsu. Because that is something I know the least of, so we’ve spent a lot of time with my ground game, and wrestling, and of course me some kick-boxing, just to get me used to throwing lower kicks. Really that’s about it, I’d say kick-boxing, jiu-jitsu, and you know still doing the boxing of course. It’s shorter, we’re doing more bursts of energy stuff rather than endurance, because there are so few rounds.
MH: Which of those styles do you like the most?
MSJ: Oh, (laughs) without a doubt boxing. I spent 23 years kicking, but I don’t know just boxing really tugs at my heart. I love the jiu-jitsu, I mean that is so much fun, but if I had to pick one, oh boxing is my heart. (laughs) I don’t think I love anything more than that.
MH: Has there been anything easier than you thought it would be?
MSJ: No. (laughs) Nothing. (laughs) Nothing easy about it.
MH: I know a year or two ago you suffered an eye injury during your bout with Brooke Dierdorff, has that injury already completely healed and you’re already to go for Saturday night?
MSJ: Probably not. You know Mike, my injury happened long before Brooke, it’s an old injury got first with a girl named Jessica Rakoczy, and it never quite healed. It just kept re-opening at every fight. I am not sure it will ever be 100% healed, I just have to watch for it and always be aware of it. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where it’s like “oh yeah it’s fine.” (laughs) I’ll always be protecting it and be aware that I have an injury there.
MH: How do you expect this fight to go for you on Saturday night, what are you planning to do if you can dictate the fight?
MSJ: I can’t give away what my strategy is, but you know. I’m never really gonna know until I get into the ring, because I always feel out my opponent, people know me as a slow starter. I want to see, let them show me their cards first, and then I have my attack. I mean I’m a counter-puncher too. So I doubt that those things are going to change in an MMA fight. Because I think those things are instinctual, I’m
just instinctively a counter-fighter, and that is really not going to change.
MH: I know you are not looking past this fight, but do you have any other plans to continue in MMA?
MSJ: You know, I really don’t know. I’m fighting a title fight in boxing April 4th. Whether I’ll keep doing MMA? Who knows. At this point it is hard for me to plan anything because I’m getting to the end of my career in boxing. I probably only have one fight left. No, I know I only have one fight left in boxing. So it’s just so hard to say.
MH: You know you only have one fight left? Does that mean you are going to be done?
MSJ: In boxing.
MH: Right, in boxing?
MSJ: April 4th is my last fight.
MSJ: Yes. It is a title fight in Mexico, and that will be, it will most likely be it. I mean nothing is in stone. Hey I just don’t know, I change my mind all the time, and that’s what fighters do when they get to the end of their careers, always changing their minds. (laughs) “I’m retired. No, I’m not. I’m retired. No, I’m not.” So I really hope I will be.
MH: Ok so Saturday night everyone can watch you fight on www.FighterGirls.com pay per view, or you can attend X1: Champions in Hawaii www.X1Events.com, anything you would like to add?
MSJ: Yeah, everybody can go to my website www.MiaStJohn.com and e-mail me, I have a link on there. And yeah definitely stay tuned for the fight.
MH: Great! Well thank you very much for the time, good luck with your fight on Saturday night, and good luck with you fight on April 4th.
MSJ: Ok, thank you so much.