Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rebecca Heintzman Interview

Photo Credit: Shoot It MMA

Seeing her fight in person on two occasions, Rebecca Heintzman is someone I have quickly become impressed with. She is a well rounded fighter who can control people on the ground, but is able to effectively stand and strike when the situation calls for it. With a record of 5-0 she is quickly making a name for herself and getting some recognition as someone to watch.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started training for the sport?
A: I played soccer in college and after I was done with college and started grad school, it was odd not having competitive sports in my life anymore. I needed something that could work around my school schedule. With team sports, if you miss practice, you are letting other people down. With MMA I could tailor it to my schedule and go to the classes and wasn't letting down a group of people if I couldn't make it one night. I knew other people who had done MMA and convinced me to check out the local gyms. I went and stuck with it.

Q: When you started training, was the plan to fight all along?
A: Not necessarily at the level I am getting to now. It was one of those things that I was gonna go do it to stay in shape, do some grappling tournaments, and have the goal of fighting in the cage once before I was done, just so I could have that experience. I didn't know it was something that would turn into me competing regularly.

Q: A lot of parents might not like the idea of their daughter getting punched in the face....
A: Haha.

Q: Where yours o.k. with it?
A: They are supportive of it. My mom is not o.k with me getting punched in the face. She can't watch my fights until afterwords and when my dad has informed her I did a good job protecting my face. I have two older brothers and one older sister, they grew up kind of picking on me, they have always known me as a competitive person and enjoy watching me do something I love.

Q: One thing I like is that unlike a lot of new fighters, you don't get overly excited and remain calm, is that accurate?
A: I guess so. I usually feel pretty calm. I think it is a result of the type of training my gym puts me through. Making me experience uncomfortable situations in training so when they happen in competition, they are not so unsettling.

Q: Going over your last two fights, with Ronda Gale, you seemed to really want to work your clinch game and takedowns, was that the plan going in?
A: Yeah, I felt pretty comfortable on the ground. My plan was to fight her in my comfort zone.

Q: For your size you are really strong, does that help you when you are doing your clinch work and takedown attempts?
A: Definitely! Any advantage you can have over your opponent be it, strength, speed, skill, anything like that will help you in a fight.

Q: Your last fight, you beat Jody Reicher by TKO, how did you feel about your performance in that fight?
A: That fight was exciting for me because I had the challenge to kind of not go for the takedown right away, stand a little bit, test my hands. I felt I was successful at that, working my hands and showing I have little bit more of a well-rounded game than people might think.

Q: You are a well-rounded fighter, do you have a preference in that would you rather get the submission or the KO, or is a win a win?
A: In the end a win is a win. It is about getting in there and doing what it takes to win a fight, but I am definitely more comfortable on the ground.

Q: You are starting to get some hype around you, did you expect that to happen so soon?
A: Not at all! I went into my first fight, you train and hope your training has prepared you, so to come away with a win in my debut fight was more than I could have ever hoped for. To follow that up with success and have people give me affirmation, it wasn't something I expected so soon. I thought I would have to keep working and be around longer and prove myself over and over before people would notice me. It has been really neat.

Q: Is it hard to not let it go to your head and maybe get cocky?
A: I guess a little bit. Luckily I have a support system that is good at keeping me grounded and let me be confident in myself, but knowing the balance of going into the cage and feeling confident so you are able to have the mind-set to execute your game-plan, you have to be confident, but also keep grounded, level-headed and humble.

Q: As you keep winning and getting that attention, I believe you have had four fights this year, do you expect it to become harder to get fights?
A: I have actually had five fights, I fought Heather LeFevre twice in a row. For some reason the second one hasn't shown up yet. That is a concern of mine because there is such a smaller fighter pool for female fighters. It is hard enough, then getting a better record starts to eliminate people willing to accept. That is part of the appeal of the NAAFS, Nichole Long has a lot of connections with female fighters around the country, so she will be able to help me get fights with the right opponents.

Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and maybe learn from?
A: I really like GSP quite a bit. I like how he works his jab and low kicks, but then has explosive takedowns. He is always very calm and epitomizes that martial artist mentality. I also really like Dominick Cruz. He is so quick and unorthodox.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: The biggest would be my gym Power of One and coach Jason Porter. The first day I walked in to try out the gym, I was in his office and he could tell I could be more than just doing the fitness classes. He has been there for me and my training. He is under-rated as a coach. people may not know his name, but he knows MMA, I couldn't imagine training with anyone else.

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