Photos Courtesy of Five5 Photo
My introduction to Rach Wiley is a topic I have discussed before. One day when seeking out potential people to interview I stumbled upon a story about her. It was a story that talked very little about her actual fighting and more about her looks. Upon doing a small bit of research she seemed like a fun person so I decided I would see if she wanted to do a real interview, one about Rach Wiley the fighter. She quickly agreed and it was set up for the following day. On June 24th I called Rach to conduct the interview. Now, I can’t lie. While she seemed fun, I still partially expected a little ego. The young 18-19 year old fighter with the model looks, getting attention after only one amateur fight, a fight she lost, I expected some ego. I was so pleased to find out that there was none. She was as humble as any fighter I had come across. I also like to think that she respected me because I specifically wanted to talk about fighting and nothing else and we very quickly became friends.
As I stated, Rach lost her first fight. Since then, she has won four in a row including two first round stoppages, with her last fight being in February of 2014. If you have followed her career even slightly you will notice that part of that success comes from having the work ethic of someone much older. She was dedicated, put in constant effort and it was rewarded in the cage.
Her fan base also continued to grow. People liked her because she was the pretty girl who didn’t act like the pretty girl, she was the talented girl who stayed humble, she was the appreciative girl who made sure to show appreciation for even the smallest of compliments. The only thing she demanded was respect, but she did not do so verbally, she did so in her actions and the way she lived her life. Her infectious personality is part of why for the past two years she has won Voters Favorite Amateur Fighter in our annual awards.
Rach is not just MMA training. She is also very heavy into lifting and I will tell you that if she wanted to she could compete in the fitness industry. She has seemed unsure when I talk to her if she could stick with it, I am here to tell you that she could do it, and she could do it well. Her improving physique is testament to that. Why am I bringing this up? Because it is another example of her hard work and determination. She has something she loves and she busts her ass to be her best at it. That is why she has succeeded in MMA. Because she wanted to be the best she can be and put everything she could into it. She goes after things with aggression, she pursues them and does not ever feel satisfied, which if you watch her fight and her come forward style, you will see that it is the same aggression she has in her fights.
She has been out of the cage for close to a year. Why? Because she was becoming an EMT. While most people her age were out partying, Rach was studying, while most people her age were sleeping in, Rach was lifting, while most people her age were fooling around, she was training. But on January 31st, just a couple weeks from now, Rach Wiley finally returns to the cage when she faces Meri Stewart for Danger-Fire Promotions.
The opportunity to fight at home was too good to pass up. The reality is I do not know anything about Meri Stewart, so I can’t give you some kind of breakdown of the fight. Who has the advantage where. But what I can tell you is that Rach has in each fight been better than the last fight, which makes January 31st something to be excited about. Rach is always in an exciting fight and an improved Rach Wiley will be an even more exciting Rach Wiley.
I often refer to Rach as “The Next Big Thing”. I do that because of all the things I have listed throughout what you are reading. All these things I mentioned are among the reasons I feel that Rach can be a star in the sport. Whether it be at 145 or 155, her attitude and hard work will make her great, her being great is what will make her a world champion. But that “Next Big Thing” title I gave her does not just apply to MMA as she may think it does. It is not me just saying she is that “Next Big Thing” in MMA. That is me saying she can and will be great in whatever she chooses to do. Be it MMA, be it me convincing her to get on stage, whatever it is, she will be great at it. People have doubted her, there have been the occasional “hater”, but while most people, myself included, will lash out at such people, she laughs it off and keeps on going, working harder to prove them wrong. Not because she needs their approval, but because she’s just gonna enjoy it when they are proven wrong. In fact, I think she likes having a few doubters, a few people who don’t believe in her. I think she enjoys that fun feeling of proving them wrong.
I am biased, let’s be perfectly clear. Rach Wiley is a very close friend, we text on a daily basis, we have both been an ear for each other when we needed to talk and trusted each other with personal things. On top of that, I have a professional relationship with her. But let’s also be perfectly clear, she is my friend because of the person she is, because of how infectious her personality is, she draws people to her, she has charisma. I have a professional relationship with her because I wanted one. I am not saying how good she can be because of that professional relationship, I wanted that professional relationship because of how good she can be. I told her one day she will be a champion and I believe that more each day, because she makes you believe it. Everything she does make you believe she will be a professional mixed martial arts world champion, she makes you believe she is “The Next Big Thing.”