“Invicta have been truly amazing to me every step of the way”
The MMA world is gearing up for the first Invicta FC event of 2014 and it all goes down on Saturday 6th September, live from the Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri and making her professional debut on the night is the very talented JJ Aldrich.
JJ started Martial Arts at the age of nine and has worked her way to a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is a three times Colorado female fighter of the year.
At 17 she had her first competitive match up in Muay Thai, which she won, and put together a record of 3-0. She also took home the RMBB Muay Thai championship.
Around the same time she made her MMA debut and as an amateur put together a record of 8-4. Over her amateur career she was very successful and won four MMA championships: The RMBB and Beat Down, Destiny MMA Hawaii, Thunderdome and Conflict MMA strawweight champion.
With so much success in just four years of competing it must be hard to pick a defining moment or sum up the journey, but for JJ she took something from each match up and even had one inspiring moment capturing one of her championships.
“Every fight holds a different meaning, with a different personal challenge for me, but one that stuck out was traveling to Hawaii and capturing their tittle. It was pretty magical!!”
The time has now come for her to turn professional. After 12 tough fights as an amateur, the timing is just right for her to make the shift to pro and she couldn’t ask for a better stage to make her debut than with the world’s leading WMMA promotion: Invicta Fighting Championships, who have been nothing but professional every step of the way.
“I feel like I have had a good run as an amateur and have fought some of the toughest people around so going pro now it just feels right.
I couldn’t ask for a better promotion to make my debut on I’m honored and thankful to them for giving me the chance to show case my skills on such an elite show. They have been truly amazing to me every step of the way they take great care of there athletes and anyone would be lucky to work for them!!”
Her opponent on the night is highly rated Delaney Owen, who turned professional earlier on in 2014 and has put together an unblemished record of 2-0. Both of those wins have come via submission and Delaney has shown that she has a very good ground game, but half of JJ’s amateur victories by way of submission as well, so we could well see this fight take place on the mat, with Delaney looking to get it right down there and that is something JJ is expecting.
“I think that even if that’s not her initial game plan it will be by the end of the fight. Its a good, tough, fight pretty evenly matched and if your fighting for the biggest women’s fighting organisation in the world, I believe you should be taking whatever fight they throw at you!!”
JJ sums it up perfectly that it will be a very good fight and we can all expect two, rising competitors lay it all on the line. Especially with JJ who has a well rounded background in the Martial Arts, so could see herself having the advantage on the feet with her Tae Kwon Do background.
It is something which she has always worked on and throughout her amateur career she showed that she isn’t just a one trick pony and can slug it out on the feet, utilise her wrestling and BJJ, but also grind out the victories when needed.
“I have always prided myself on being a pretty well rounded fight so wherever the fight goes I will be ready. I’m defiantly always ready to bang it out”.
Professional MMA brings with it a few more challenges but it is nothing that JJ will have seen before. A fight still exactly what it says on the tin and she has been through all the emotions of walking out to compete and preparing for the big fights. However, with that said, some competitors can over think the professional tag and will do too much or try to change up their whole camp, but JJ is someone who has her head in the game and solid team behind her.
“We started training camp about 8 weeks out pretty much as soon as we got the news. We haven’t changed too much mostly just more cardio for the longer rounds but if its not broke don’t fix it”.
A side of the sport, whether in preparation or competition, which is overlooked by some is the psychology. It’s not just a matter of turning up on fight night, getting into the zone and then going out to compete. There is months of preparation, which include grueling training sessions, mixed in with working a normal job or balancing family and friends.
That is something which cannot be easy to do, especially turning up to train after a long day of working. You have to be dedicated, committed, and most of work hard of your mind to push through the walls which appear in front you.
This is something which JJ works hard at and makes sure she has the right people around her.
“Its extremely hard to stay focused and mentally strong. People on the outside looking in don’t realize everything that goes in to it, its not just a street fight that happens in seconds you know your going to get in a cage with another person who wants to hurt you weeks out. I just surround myself with people that know what I’m going threw and can inspire me to push threw it”.
The people she surrounds herself with are the best in Colorado. Her main team their is at the 303 training centre, which includes Jiu Jitsu black belt Tony Basile. She also heads to cross train with members of the Grudge training centre, with the likes of Cassie Robb, Rose Namajunas and Stephanie Skinner.
All of it adds up to a fantastic learning experience for her and are two places which bring out the best her and JJ sums it up perfectly the bond they have together.
“I love my team they help me push harder and give me confidence at the times I need it the most. They love punching me as much as I love punching them”.
While she has her influences with her own team, she is a massive influence herself. Since the age of 12 JJ has been teaching Tae Kwon Do and currently she is an instructor for after school programs at two different middle schools. This shows just how much she wants to help develop young athletes but also pass on the knowledge and passion she has for a fantastic sport.
“I love teaching kids its probably the most rewarding thing I get to do. Seeing their excitement and passion for the same thing I love is so rewarding and they teach me the most”.
JJ Aldrich has grown up in Martial Arts and is a credit to the sport on and off the mats. She works tremendously hard to sharpen her skills and take her career to the next level, but makes sure that others around her get the same opportunities.
This weekend the focus is on her and her professional debut. Come Saturday night in Kansas City, and for fans watching around the world, the best JJ Aldrich will start her journey up the ladder towards the top and don’t be surprised to see her come out with her hand raised and for her to be talked about for many years to come.
JJ would like to thank:
“My teams 303 training center and Grudge training center, my coaches Mike Gonzales and Tony Basile, my team mates Rose Namajunas, Stephanie Skinner, Cassie Robb, Brittany Elkin and Audrey Perkins, my manager Rosa Freitas with White Buffalo Management and all my amazing sponsors Commit fight wear, Klench Mouth Guards, Sicchic fight gear, Brawlin combat gear, Outlaw fight gear, Professional Event Sponsor “Healthy Energy Drink, FYU Lifestyles, Revolver MMA also my nutritionist Eric Triliegi.
I couldn’t do it without every single one of them and a special thanks to Invicta FC for having me on their promotion!”
If you would like to keep up to date with JJ you can via Facebook and Twitter at:
(I would also like to thank JJ for taking the time out to answer my questions and allowing me the opportunity to put together this piece).