Name – Angela Whitley
Nickname – Riptide
Record – 14 wins 0 loses
Weight – 140 pounds
Team – Thunder Muay Thai and MMA
Where are you from ?
I was born and raised in Germany until I was 12, then spent my young adulthood in the states (Killeen, Texas). I am currently a resident of Puerto Rico and have been living here for 3 years.
How long have you been training ?
I have always been an athlete. In high school I wrestled and did track and field. At Texas A&M University I skippered on the Sailing Team. I started training Muay Thai and MMA in February 2013.
How did you get in to Muay Thai ?
A trip to Lumpinee Stadium in Thailand in 2011 initially sparked my interest in Muay Thai. It wasn’t until I moved to Puerto Rico in 2013 that I found Thunder Muay Thai and MMA Gym and began taking classes just for fun.
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter ?
I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete. As a wrestler in high school I wanted to compete at the collegiate level and eventually in the Olympics, however, injury prevented that and I decided to pursue a career in Marine Biology. One day at Thunder my coach said he saw potential asked me if I wanted to stay in PR and fight for the team. It felt like a second chance at a dream I had as a teenager so I said yes. After winning my first MMA fight via first round TKO despite an injury, I knew I could and wanted to do this.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to enter the competitive world of Muay Thai ?
My brother and my friends have always been super supportive of me. However, I believe my parents have always wanted me to play other sports like basketball or swimming. I’m not sure they entirely approve of me fighting, but they support me.
What is your current record ?
I am 2-0 in MMA and 14-0 in Muay Thai.
What is your favorite strike or submission ?
clinching, knees and elbows.
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
My biggest inspiration would have to be my high school wrestling Coach Bernard Williams who started the wrestling program at Ellison High School. He bought my first pair of wrestling shoes so I could participate in a clinic and he even raised money for our team uniforms and drove us to tournaments every weekend. During competition he would always pray over us and really molded our team (especially the women’s team) into a power house. He taught us to be strong and fierce! Coach Williams was always in my corner and has seen me at my highest and lowest, but no matter what he kept me humble and inspired me to do my best even through my worst days and injury. He would always ask me “how badly do you want it?” That was enough to motive me to win a state title.
What team do you train with ?
Thunder Muay Thai and MMA in Puerto Rico.
Do you like to stand with your opponent or take the fight to the Ground ?
I feel comfortable doing both, but I enjoy standing and striking.
What does being fighter mean to you ?
Being a fighter has given me confidence on a whole other level. It requires so much heart, and for me it means never giving up on yourself despite any obstacles, in the ring/cage or in life.
What weight do you fight at ?
I usually fight between 140lbs -150lbs, however my last fight two fights were against heavyweights who outweighed me by 60lbs.
What do you think separates you from other fighters In your division ?
I believe I have a physical advantage in that I’m 5’9 with a 73 inch reach. I also have the mindset of a wrestler, the “grind” mentality.
If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
I honestly have no idea. I can’t say that I’ve had enough fights to have an opinion about that.
Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
The WKA World Championships held in Spain this past year was tough.
I fought twice in the heavyweight division and the fights were back to back with about 15 minutes rest in between. The time went by quickly but it was tough competing against women who outweighed me by 60lbs.
What is your mindset going into a fight ?
Score, score, score!!! I always feel like I’m fighting against the clock because I only have 6 to 9 minutes to prove myself.
Who are you fighting next ?
I am fighting Jorina Baars.
What promotion are you fighting for ?
I will be fighting for Lion Fight Promotions.
Date and time of your next fight ?
September 2nd , 2016.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
I want to be remembered for my heart and work ethic.
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
My coach David Cummings has been the most influential. He is the one who taught me how to fight and he and his wife coach Tammie prepare me for all of my fights.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport ?
For women in MMA I feel like Rhonda Rousey has had the biggest impact. She’s who people think of when you mention women’s MMA and she’s done the most publicity for it.
How would you describe your fighting style ?
I guess I would have to say that I’m a workhorse. I usually outwork my opponents, even if I’m tired or have an injury I find a way to push through it and never stop working until the fight is over. I’m excited to see how I develop as I become more and more experienced.
What drives or motivates you ?
An incredible desire to succeed and a fear of failure. I don’t like to fail, although I know eventually I will meet my match, but if I give my best effort and put up a good fight then I won’t consider it a failure.
What is something people might not know about you ?
I think a lot of people don’t know that I am a well-traveled scuba diving instructor and marine biologist who assisted in opening the first Antarctic Penguin exhibits in Australia and Dubai, UAE.
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
I would probably be doing exactly what I’m doing now, getting my Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences to hopefully one day save the world hahaha.
You’re backstage about to walk out your music hits what’s going through your head as you walk down to the ring ?
I just warm up until I’m called. I’m usually very anxious; the waiting part is the worst! But as soon as I get to the ring/cage the anxiety goes away and I feel calm and focused. I block everything out. I don’t hear anything when I fight, except my own breath. I think I developed that habit from wrestling.
Who is your favorite fighter ?
I’m a fan of Tiffany “Timebomb” Van Soest and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
When you’re not training what do you like to do with your free time ?
I like to be outdoors either scuba diving, fishing, hiking the rainforest, or working on my cacao/plantain farm project.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
I won two amateur WKA world titles in the heavyweight division for Muay Thai Full rules and Modified rules.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for women in combat sports ?
I think women still lack a lot of recognition and weight classes.
What advice can you give to young female fighters ?
The same advice my wrestling coach gave me…how badly do you want it. It speaks for itself, if you want something enough, then you’ll do what it takes and beyond to achieve it. Even on your worst days, push towards your goals and never count yourself out because you can always push further than you think you can.
Where do you see women’s Muay Thai in the next 5-10 years ?
Hopefully growing with more competition and more weight classes. It would also be nice to see women in kickboxing getting more recognition as well, that way good stand up fighters don’t feel like they have to cross over into MMA.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?
If I’m still able to fight successfully, I think it will still be a big part of my life. However, I also see myself involved with conservation efforts for coastal ecosystems.
What are your goals within the sport ?
My goals are simple, to get 1% better each day, even on my bad days.
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone supporting me along my journey. William Fortuño, and Robert aka “Mama Bear”, my high school coaches Coach Crocker, Coach Steve and Coach Williams. My current coach David Cummings and his wife Tammie as well as my team mates. My family, my best friends and partners in crime Julio Ortiz and Danna Suarez.