Rach Wiley’s popularity has seen a meteoric rise. After losing her debut fought, she has reeled off six straight wins culminating in her defeat of Nici Kearney to claim her first amateur title. On August 7th she seeks her second title as she faces Cara Jo Wesemann for Blue Corner. Wesemann promises to be a tough test for Wiley in a fight that should provide fireworks.
Q: Since you won your first title, how have things changed for you?
A: Now everyone calls me “The Champ”. No one calls me Rachel, I have a belt in my room now. That is the only real big difference.
Q: Do you find yourself getting recognized more now?
A: Yeah! I get a lot of messages on Facebook and they usually say “good job, I follow you, you are an inspiration” and I like messages like that and try and respond to all of them. I’ll have people come up to me that I haven’t seen in years or I don’t really recognize and they will ask when my next fight is and I’ll tell them. It is pretty cool to have that happen around here.
Q: is it getting harder to find time to answer all those messages?
A: Yes and I feel bad, but I think I do an o.k. job at it.
Q: If 6-1 champion Rach Wiley could talk to 0-1 doubting herself Rach Wiley, what would she say?
A: 6-1 champion Rach Wiley would tell 0-1 non-champion Rach Wiley that it’ll get better, just keep training hard and staying dedicated. 0-1 Rach Wiley would tell 6-1 Rach Wiley that she is crazy and laugh in her face and then turn around and cry as she walked away.
Q: Your area has become a hot bed for women’s MMA with people like you, Tabby Patterson and Jessica Middleton on a lot of people’s lists of top prospects, is it exciting to be such a big part of that?
A: Yes! It is amazing because there are so many good women fighters around here in Topeka and the surrounding area. I think it is awesome people are starting to recognize that because it gives the girls a good opportunity to represent ourselves and people will take notice and bring light to the other girls around here to.
Q: Last time I interviewed Tabby she said she would love to see all the girls there not fight each other so much and instead fight women from other areas to show how good the fighters there are, do you agree?
A: I one hundred percent agree. The girls around here are pretty spread out gym wise. At my gym we have me, Rebecca Revelle and Savannah Self, then at Tabby’s gym there is Tabby and LeiLoni Stewart and the other gym has Julie Murray, then there is Jessica Middleton and Krista Adkins, I am forgetting people and it’s like I am the only 155 at my gym, Becca and Savannah are way smaller. Tabby is more my size, LeiLoni is more Savannah’s size and Julie is Becca’s size. It would help more if we didn’t fight each other and trained together and made each other better and went out and kicked all these other girls asses. People would be like “wow, who are these chicks and where are they coming from?” And when we say Kansas they will say “wow, don’t fuck with Kansas”. It would be really cool.
Q: You are fighting Cara Jo Wesemann, what do you know about her?
A: I know she has been fighting a long time. She is an MMA veteran around here. I know she is no joke and I am excited we finally get matched up against each other.
Q: Is she the toughest opponent since Tabby?
A: I would say she is in the top three for sure. Her, Tabby and Autumn Lamle would be my top three.
Q: She is coming off a couple losses, does that sort of make her more dangerous knowing she wants to get back on a winning track?
A: Yes, for sure. That is one thing I lack. I haven’t lost since 2012 and I think that might be a weakness at some point because that fire hasn’t been lit under my butt, that I need to do something. I don’t think you learn a whole lot off of wins but it is whatever. I have been doing o.k., I just think people coming off losses, you have to be more leery of them.
Q: A lot of girls you fight continue to make the mistake of clinching with you on the cage and then they end up on the ground on the bottom, do you expect her to stay out of that?
A: Yeah, I think that Cara is more of a striker, she likes to box and that is awesome, I like to box to. She has pretty good head movement, she is a great striker. I definitely think she will try and move and get out of the way and stay out of that. She is probably gonna try and punch my head off.
Q: This fight is for a title, going back to your last fight, does it being for a title make you feel more pressure and if so, does having dealt with it once make it easier this time?
A: Yeah, I was just thinking about that the other day actually. The first time I knew I was fighting for a belt I was like “holy shit”, I had all this pressure on me. At Midwest Combat Academy, they have never had a female champion and I wanted to be the first so that was a lot of pressure on me and I really wanted my first belt. I really trained hard and did everything I could think of and I got the belt ultimately in one minute and fifty-eight seconds. This time, I still want it, but I don’t have as much pressure as the first time. But it would be cool to be their first double female champion to.
Q: You are fighting close to home, some people like it and some don’t, you clearly do, why is that?
A: It is only an hour from Topeka. I like to fight around here. It is easier to sell tickets which I really like to do because I really like to make my promoters happy. I like to have my people come out and I like to hear them, I hear them yelling for me and I see them. Some of my fights I see my mom and when I fought Elizabeth Espinoza, me and my mom equally hated her and I could see her as I was punching this chick. When I fought Autumn my parents were there and I could hear my mom screaming over my corner and I was like “oh my God mom, shut up”. There is just something about having all the support there in person rather than just all the Facebook posts and calls and texts beforehand.
Q: How are you a better fighter than your last fight?
A: I worked on things that I had difficulty with in the past. Things I wish I could have worked on more in my last camp, things I saw myself mess up on in my last two minute fight. Believe it or not you can mess up on a lot in two minutes.
Q: What is the key to winning this fight?
A: I say moving my head would be a key for this fight. I do believe this fight is going to be the most amount of times I have been punched in the face so far.
Q: How does this fight end?
A: I think this will go to a decision. A unanimous decision my way.
Q: You mentioned people messaging you. You have so many supporters and some have become almost die-hard Rach Wiley fans, does it seem surreal?
A: Yeah, I seriously do have some die-hard Rach Wiley fans who hit me up every day. They are super awesome, they are my favorite. They are not from around here. I have them here, but it is crazy to think people from other places mention me in their women crush Wednesday post along with people like Jessica Eye and Lacey Schuckman and people like that. It is crazy to me.
Q: You have had pros like Andrea Lee getting behind you, how does it feel, the people you look up to supporting you?
A: That is awesome. There was a quote that said work until your idols become your rivals. I have thought about that quote but never applied it to my life but anymore it is. They are not my rivals cause we support each other but the fact these pros I look up to and worn their shirts are tweeting about me, it is surreal.
Q: For fans wondering what is next for you, what would you tell them?
A: Stay tuned, we have some exciting things coming very soon.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Shanon Woodward and all my coaches and teammates at Midwest Combat Academy, you Jason my manager, my family and friends and fans and all my sponsors, Sicchic Fight Wear, Dragon Do Fight Wear, Core Coaster, Michelle’s Magic Morsels, Fighter Alias, Jayhawk Body Shop and Glass, Sam AKA MMA Roadhog, Hard Bodii and my newest sponsor Grit Custom Mouthguards.