Surely you know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Everyone has heard it. It basically means don’t judge things based simply on how it looks. Looks can be deceiving, in either a positive or negative way. To judge Rebecca Revelle could end in a good or bad result. Now you might look at her, an attractive young woman and say “she’s too pretty to fight.” Now if you are a fan and make that judgment, you will be happy because the reality is, Rebecca loves to fight, she loves to punch people in the face, and she just so happens to be good at it. However the bad comes if you are the opponent and you make that same initial judgment, because you are the one who is going to be surprised when she does punch you in the face…… a lot. Rebecca is confident but not cocky. She is confident in her ability to not only beat you, but finish you. She is coming off her debut amateur win on January 31st and is not just days from fight number two when she faces Sam Allen at Shamrock FC. Here is my interview with Rebecca about her fighting, this bout coming up, her future and more.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started training for MMA?
A: I first got into MMA from a different sport, boxing. I started that when I was a teenager, to work out, get some aggression out and be able to fight people legally, right up my line of interests, to be able to punch people in the face.
Q: What made you switch to MMA?
A: In my time boxing, it was very hard to find girls still competing, it was hard to get fights, get good matches. MMA was a new sport, it was intriguing. A lot of the local MMA people said “you should do MMA, it is really cool and there are a lot more opportunities.” I thought I would do both. In my mind I will still do any form of fighting, grappling, boxing, kickboxing, MMA, just to be able to fight as much as possible. When I started cross-training for MMA I was like “Oh shit, this is fun, I can knee people in the face, heck yeah. I can take them down on the ground and slam there face around, this looks like a good time.”
Q: When you started, even with the boxing, did you get the “you’re too pretty to get punched in the face” comments
A: Oh yeah! I still get that all the time. I say “that is o.k. cause I will stay fast and I will keep my hands up and I will stay pretty.” The only people that are ugly are the people that get beat up and I don’t get beat up.
Q: You are a mother, is it hard balancing being a mom with training, especially during fight camp?
A: Yeah, it definitely is a challenge for many reasons. When I first started for MMA, I got pregnant, it was with someone I had been in a relationship with for a long time, and I have a beautiful daughter so it turned out to be more good than bad. I had my daughter and took some time off and then I had another kid. I was out of training and fighting for four years before I got back into it because they were so little and I had to dedicate so much time to them. I didn’t want to get back into fighting until I knew that I could dedicate enough of myself to go in there and be confident in winning fights and be confident in my training. I miss them when I have to train a lot and it sucks sometimes because I would like to spend more time with them but everyone has there hobbies. Some mom’s like to go out for wine and shopping and I just like to punch people in the face, that is my me time.
Photo Credit: Five Select
Q: Going back to the first MMA fight, you beat Chantay Powell. Granted, you had the boxing, but doing MMA the first time, were you any more nervous?
A: Yeah! I was super nervous. It was my first time fighting in my hometown. All my fights had been away, even if it was Kansas City, that is still an hour away. That was my first time fighting in front of my family and my town. There was more pressure to perform well but I was more nervous because it was a last minute fill-in so my game-plan during my whole camp went out the window. I said “guess I gotta wing it, I don’t know what this person has in store for me, I just gotta work through it.” Instead of knowing if she was a wrestler or a Thai girl, you have certain game-plans and it all goes out the window when they back out and you get a last minute replacement. I was nervous about that.
Q: Did the fight being in a ring instead of a cage make it easier, being as that is what you were used to?
A: I actually thought it would because that particular ring I had been learning in for years because it is the ring from where I started at. But it is actually really slippery being barefoot. I even lost my footing and fell to the ground. Luckily I recovered really fast. Mats are better for your bare feet?
Q: Did having so many teammates on the card help with the nerves?
A: Kind of. But it was an emotional roller coaster all night. When it’s just you, you focus on your fight and when it’s done, you come back down and enjoy your win. With my teammates, I love them, it is like watching my brother and sister in there. Focus on them, then it’s my turn so focus on me and then it’s like “oh, one of my teammates is in there again”. My hear rate never went below two hundred, it was crazy.
Q: A lot of gyms have one girl, you got Rach Wiley, Savannah Self, how much easier does that make it?
A: Yeah, it definitely does because we think totally different, we feel differently. We can talk and confide in each other and have pretty much gotten to the point where we universally agree. If one of us is made at you, look out cause all of us are gonna be mad at you. If one of us has cramps and a boy says “shut up, it’s not that bad”, we can gang up and say “you don’t know what we go through, get away, we will jump you.” It’s really nice, it’s like a sisterhood. We are such a good support for each other in so many ways that I could never go back to a gym where I was the only one. We are a tight group and I love it and appreciate it.
Q: Your opponent coming up is Sam Allen, do you know anything about her?
A: A little. She trains in St. Louis, she is a Krav Maga instructor, she does a little bit of Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu but her main thing is her Krav Maga.
Q: Some people like to know a lot on their opponent and some don’t, do you have a preference?
A: I would like to know. Then I can focus on what I know about them and make a game-plan specific for them just like in any other sport if you know they other team has a weakness… I mean you never prepare for someones weaknesses, but you can even prepare for their strengths. Like “I know that girl throws some crazy punch combos so I gotta work my bobbing and weaving”. You can plan for things like that but I have never been in the position where I got to know a lot about my opponent yet. I’ll see how it works out when I can really study someone and see if it helps me or not and then decide from there if it is the opinion I keep but for now I’d like the opportunity to know a lot about my opponent before I fight them.
Photo Credit: Shamrock FC
Q: With the boxing background and you liking to punch people in the face, you obviously like standing, but if it goes to the ground, are you confident in your ground game?
A: I am extremely confident. That is not because I am a Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu or anything like that but I know that I am extremely strong for my size and really good at securing the positions I want to take dominance. I can adapt for who I am with. If I take it to the ground or they take it to the ground, I am like “o.k., this is gonna be my thing” or if I see that they are gonna try some crazy submission attempt on me, I know I have the strength to probably get out of it and I do know some technique as well. I feel like if any fight goes to the ground, at this level I am at, then I am winning the fight.
Q: Perfect world, everyone looks for a finish, but if the fight goes the distance, being new, would you welcome that, just to get the cage time?
A: I press the pace so much that I am always surprised when I hear the bell ring. I train for the full distance but I am someone who can push the pace because my conditioning is there and I have so much drive when I fight, I am sometimes not patient enough maybe, that I will be looking for that finish. If it goes the full time, I would be disappointed and wonder why I couldn’t finish them because I know I can. I know I can TKO somebody, KO them or submit them, and that is what I should do. that is easiest on my body and is my goal every fight.
Q: You are fighting again next month, which will basically be three months in a row, as you get more fights, do you expect to take more time between fights? Is it now just about getting experience?
A: I am! I am just trying to get a bunch of fights. I fought twice in November in Muay Thai, took December off, fought in January, the last day of January and the first month of March so I barely got a month off there, then less than a month till my next fight. So I am staying busy but none of my fights have gone past the second round, so my body is healthy and can go more. It keeps me in the groove of things, I wanna stay busy right now. I am recovering well, doing well. When I need those full fight camps I will dedicate myself to it but as of right now, I just want experience, experience, experience. I am not used to the show that MMA is. In boxing it is tournaments, you go and there is not a big crowd. I have to get used to that if I want to go pro in this sport. Dealing with the lights, camera, action of it all, because I am not used to it.
Q: I and others have pushed Rach for Invicta, long term is that your goal as well?
A: Yeah, not even that long term. I wanna do two more years as an amateur, get in a lot of fights, some more Muay Thai tournaments, some more boxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, all the experience I can, then hopefully in two or three years go pro and hopefully be with Invicta. That would be my dream right now and that is why I am working so hard, to fast forward things a bit.
Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and pick things up from?
A: I like to watch my teammates fight. I support the local fighters. Especially the other girls, if they are around my weight I am probably gonna fight them soon so might as well watch them as much as I can. As far as famous people, there is no one I really follow. I watch UFC when I can and Bellator but I worry more about my career. I don’t really have time to be a huge fan. I just don’t. I know people I appreciate when they fight and will be like “dang, she did really well” but the more I focus on them, the less I am on my own career.
Q: Anyone you want to thank before we finish?
A: You for interviewing me and being supportive of not just me but my teammates and other women in the sport because we have haters so it is nice when people build us up. My coaches at Midwest Combat Academy Shanon Woodward, Cody Criqui, Wayman Carter, Morgan, all my teammates and my family and everyone who supports me.