Sunday, July 31, 2011
Jessica Eve Richer Interview
Q: You started with Jiu-Jitsu obviously and doing tournaments. What got you interested in that?
A: I was playing competitive ice hockey at the time. I was looking for something to do off season conditioning wise that was not hockey related. I was watching UFC at the time and learned about Jiu-Jitsu thought that and it looked interesting. I knew everyone who fought was in wicked good shape. So I thought it would be great to do for cross training. They opened up a Gracie Barra by my house. I checked it out and made friends with everybody and after my first session I got completely hooked on it.
Q: You recently made your MMA debut. Was there a reason you decided to try MMA?
A: After my first tournament it made me want to train that much harder. SO competing in Jiu-Jitsu made me train Jiu-Jitsu harder and I saw MMA as the next evolution of that. It took my training level to a whole other place. It was about the challenge.
Q: Your first fight with Nikita Njetles, granted it didn't last long, but when it was standing, you seemed comfortable. Is that accurate?
A: Yeah! We trained kick boxing a lot in my training camp preparing for that fight. Not that we were expecting a stand-up war, but in the sense that my background was Jiu-Jitsu so we wanted to bring up the level of the rest of my game. So we spent a lot of time training stand-up and stand-up transitions to the ground game. So I was confident in that coming in.
Q: You submitted her, but being known for Jiu-Jitsu so much, was there a part of you who wanted to show there is more to you than Jiu-Jitsu?
A: Absolutely. I definitely did want to hit her. Its funny you say that because my kick boxing coach said "I wish I got to see all the stuff we practiced." When I had her on the ground and had her back half of me thought I can't believe all the kickboxing we trained and I only got to throw two punches. So there was a part of me that wanted to show that a little more. Not that I wanted to sand and get beat up a lot or get into a brawl or anything. But I was a little disappointed I didn't get to stand on my feet a little longer.
Q: Transitioning to MMA, what has been the biggest adjustment you have had to make?
A: Mixing it up. I've been training kickboxing a year and a half. I haven't had any fights, but I've been training it long enough o I am comfortable with it. I train wrestling on its own and am comfortable with that, and obviously I train Jiu-Jitsu on its own and am very comfortable with that. So the hardest thing to do is learning to mix it up. Like the individual sports you train combos and set-ups for things. MMA is a whole sport within itself. It's not doing one thing and another thing and another thing, its putting it together and building a game out of that.
Q: Do you think your Jiu-Jitsu can be an advantage and get in someones head, where they say "I can't let her take me down"?
A: I would say it depends on the opponent. I think there's two kinds of fighters. Fighters that focus on the opponent and train to their game and I would say that would get in someones head. Then there are fighters who train to their own game and kind of say "I don't care who I am fighting, this is what I am gonna do and to hell with the fact she can do Jiu-Jitsu". So it would depend on that.
Q: You're fight coming up is with Allanna Jones. Do you know anything about her?
A: I know she is out of the same camp as Nikita and fought on the same card as I did, but I did not stay to see her fight. She finished her fight with a 1st round TKO which is impressive. She finished hers in the same amount of time as I did. She lost her debut fight to a girl who is pretty tough and it was a decision so she went the distance with her. So I know she is tough and will come out hard. She fought at 170 and I fought at 155 so she may be a little bigger.
Q: When I interviewed her she said if it goes to the ground she is confident she can hang there, reversing it, if it stays standing are you confident you can hang with her?
A: Like I said, I am confident wherever the fight goes. I train everything equally hard. It's not like I just practice Jiu-Jitsu, I am a well rounded fighter. I only have one MMA fight, and it was only 1:50 long so people haven't had the opportunity to see it, but I am confident wherever the fight goes?
Q: Is there one thing you feel you have to do to make sure you win?
A: Strategy wise no, but its keep moving forward, its staying focused and playing my game and do what I do. Don't get into her rhythm, stay in my rhythm and take the fight where I want to take it.
Q: How does this fight end?
A: With my hand getting raised.
Q: This is your second fight, both with NAAFS. Is there any reason you want to fight with them again?
A: They took good care of me the first time. Nichole Long is phenomenal to deal with. I spent almost a year getting my first fight. I am from New York, the one stage I can't fight, and the promoters on the east coast aren't female friendly. So it was trying to find a promotion that was female friendly and I am 155lb and there's no girls that size on the east coast. The promotions on the east coast who do have females are all like 125lbs-135lbs. If they could make a fight at 155 it was gonna be like a warm-up deal. So dealing with a promotion that is female friendly with a pool of 155lb fighters, it meant more to fight in an organization like that. I felt like it would be good exposure and I would have room for growth with it.
Q: A lot of promotions treat female fighters as side shows, while NAAFS treats them as fighters. Does that make it more enjoyable to fight for them?
A: Absolutely! That is the main reason I am staying there. I wouldn't want to fight for a promotion that can get you on a card and not talk of a title fight in the next fight. I have talked to promoters who say "We are doing a title fight on are next card, do you wanna fight for a belt" and I had no fights and am fighting someone with no fights, so it doesn't mean anything. So being in a female friendly organization that respects you as a fighter is more of a sport and more competitive.
Q: You mentioned you train at Gracie Barra, which is a great gym. What are the benefits of that?
A: My head trainer Joe Scarola is 4-0 as an MMA fighter so has MMA experience in addition to being a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. So his game translates well into what I do. He came from a Jiu-Jitsu background and translated that into MMA, which is the same way I came up. That's been beneficial to me as opposed to going to a gym that doesn't have a Jiu-Jitsu background, he knows how to develop a game plan around Jiu-Jitsu strengths. Barra attracts higher level fighters. We've got a plethora of people I can train with, my training camp is good because of that.
Q: Any idea whats next, or one thing at a time?
A: I respect every fighter I fight and I have to fight the fight in front of me. So I have to focus on Allanna Jones and that's it. But if this fights goes well, like I said, with the NAAFS there is potential for growth, there is a belt at 155 that has meaning. It would be a great honor to keep moving forward with them and achieve something. Fighters from there are moving on to bigger promotions, so I feel like I am in the right place to do big things if things keep going the way they are going.
Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention before we finish?
A: VersaClimber has been with me since the beginning of last year. They sponsored me for Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and now this MMA fight. North Country Athletic Club Wrestling, RevGear, Defense Soap, Furi Jiu-Jitsu sports and ToughChick. My trainers, Gracie Barra Long Island, BC Kickboxing and Combat Trainer.