Roxy Modafferi Upcoming Fight With her April 3rd Lightweight Championship fight at Fatal Femmes Fighting Championship 4 quickly approaching, fightergirls.com caught up with Roxanne Modafferi to learn a little more about what makes the Japan based American one off the brightest stars of Women’s MMA.
Roxy Modafferi Upcoming Fight
Q. Let’s start with some background information; what got you in to MMA, how long have you been training, what is your preferred fighting style?
A. I got into martial arts (Tae Kwon Do) as a teenager, and from there, tried out Kempo, Judo, kickboxing, BJJ and submission grappling. My reasons morphed like the Power Rangers, from just fun, to spirituality with the non-violent Judo, to wanting to do full-contact competition. I got into MMA when my BJJ friends showed me the UFC on TV, and then joined New England Submission Fighting, in Massachusetts. I’ve always been a jiu-jitsu girl, though. But I’m trying to develop myself into a well-rounded fighter.
Q. Some may not know that you are currently living and training in Japan, did you go there specifically for training and just happen to snag a job teaching English, or was teaching your main objective?
A. I knew from when I entered college that I wanted to become fluent in Japanese and get a job using Japanese. I’ve always wanted to speak two languages. After I graduated, I could speak Japanese- but not proficiently enough to use at a job. The only way to improve my skills was to move to Japan, and teaching English was something I could do without having to know Japanese. In fact, we’re not allowed to use Japanese in the classroom. So my reasons for moving to Japan are threefold [actually]: improve my Japanese, teach English, and train and fight MMA. Ironically, there are more opportunities for me as a professional fighter in the States, but I’m not moving back for the above reasons. What would I do in the States? My career is here. Plus, I love my team- Wajyutsu Keishukai.
Q. Are there any major differences in the way you’re able to train in Japan versus training in the states, including different disciplines or specific training environments?
A. That’s kind of hard for me to say, since MMA in the States has boomed since I left. Regarding environment, there are more fellow professionals at Keishukai, so I’m surrounded by a plethora of different styles, strengths, and ideas. In the States, it appears to me that there are more specific coaches to train a fighter. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trained by other fighters here, like a senior-apprentice relationship, rather than the ‘team coach.’
Q. Are there more women to train with in Japan? Do you think it makes a difference that women’s MMA is more “accepted” in Japan?
A. There are more women to train with where I am, more professionals. I used to avoid the women in the classes in the States because they were generally beginners and didn’t help me improve. Now, it’s like the opposite at Keishukai. And although women’s MMA is ‘accepted’ in Japan, it’s becoming accepted in the States long with men’s. The women’s shows here are, in reality, thought to be a step below the men’s. You just can’t see it on the surface.
Q. What is your typical training schedule like?
A. Typically, Mondays I don’t work. There’s the “pro practice,” so we do mostly sparring for a few hours at night. In the morning, I might have a private lesson, depending on the availability of my ‘coach,’ i.e. fellow pro-fighter. Tuesdays sometimes I might have a morning private grappling or striking lesson, and I work at night. Wednesdays I might lift weights at the gym at noon, but I work all day until very late. Thursdays I don’t work, so I might do a morning and evening practice, or only night. Night practice is generally an hour and a half of technique, and then an hour and a half of sparring. On Fridays I work from early until late so I don’t train- like on Wednesday. Saturdays and Sundays I work from early until evening, and then I do the night class after work.
For fight prep, I changed my routine. I now meet a dojo lady and friend Sakura half an hour before class. We do fight-specific training when nobody is there, and continue off to the side while the technique class is going on. Then, we join in sparring. I am also free-sparring a lot less as competition time gets closer, to reduce the chance of injury.
Q. Are there any drills or exercises that you can’t live without? Something that helps you get and/or stay at the top of your game?
A. Not really, but I’ve started recording MMA sparring sessions with Sakura using my digital camera, and sit down to watch right afterwards.
Q. What do you do when you aren’t teaching or training?
A. I’m really into the series 24 and Prison Break. Actually, I used to overwork myself and run myself ragged doing “random things” or just walking around because I can’t sit still. Japan is so interesting. I’ve been living here for three years, and I still always want to explore. But if I get sucked into those TV shows, I’m sitting in front of the TV, and can relax. It’s much healthier for me. I also love watching anime, and I always read the “Wheel of Time” series on the 3 hour round-trip train ride to the dojo.
Q. Your record is 11-4; which one of those wins do you feel was your greatest accomplishment, and which loss hurt the most?
A. My second win against Jennifer Howe was my greatest accomplishment, I think. Other people remember it because Howe is a big name, and I beat her twice. But I remember it more from the nature of the fight. It was a war-exciting, a stand-up battle, really cool, and I got two belts and a sweet black eye.The loss that hurt my heart the most was against Laura D’Auguste, because from day 1 of MMA training, I had always wanted to fight her, and felt like I’d been chasing her to get a fight (much like now). Then I finally got my chance- maybe my only chance- and I couldn’t
make my body do what I wanted. Professionally, I think my loss against Shayna Baszler hurt me, because Bodog dropped me as fast as a hot potato, and Shayna got to fight again and then go to Elite.
Q. As your fight approaches what are you focusing on the most?
A. Not getting hurt or sick!
Q. Have you changed any part of your training to prepare for your fight against Vanessa Porto?
A. Yes! But sorry, I’m not telling. 🙂
Q. What do you know about her, and with that knowledge, what is your game plan?
A. I heard she’s a BJJ girl. I heard she likes to jump guard. My training partner Takayo Hashi (who’s going to fight Amanda Buckner in the FFF) said she was strong because they fought in the Abu Dhabi. And she doesn’t speak English. That’s all I know. My game plan? Mmmm…I think I’ll hit her.
Q. What kind of fight do you think we are going to see?
A. I’m going to hit her. A lot. If she hits me back, maybe I’ll sub her.
You know 🙂 She likes BJJ, I like BJJ….I like GnP….
Q. How important to Women’s MMA in America do you think these FFF shows are becoming?
A. FFF is important, and is really helping female MMA become more well-known. HookNShoot used to be the only all-female card, and that pioneered women’s MMA. I want to see more marketing for FFF! More people need to be aware of its greatness!
Q. Well Roxy, thanks for your time and good luck in your fight!
A. Thank you very much! I’d like to thank all the good people on MMA, fightlinker, myspace, and fightergirls for their constant support and kind words. Specifically the good Ryan Harkness who made a highlight video for me.
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- Roxy Modafferi Upcoming Fight