December 21st 2016
Name – Elle Wagman
Weight – 105-115 Pounds
Record – 2 Wins 0 Losses
Team – Infinity Martial Arts
Where are you from ?
I was born and raised in Springfield, MO.
How long have you been training ?
I’ve been training MMA for a little over a year.
How did you get in to MMA ?
I grew up boxing and sparring with a close family friend, but never really had any formal training until last October. I went to Vegas to watch the Olympic bodybuilding show and had a chance meeting with Floyd Mayweather, Sr. He started working mitts with me and coaching me out of nowhere and even gave me the opportunity to come out and train at the Mayweather Club. It was a little nerve-wracking, but about a month later, I hopped on a plane and flew back to Las Vegas, praying that someone would be there when I landed. They couldn’t have been more welcoming. They put me up with one of their female fighters and I spent a week working on my hands and defense with Floyd. I honestly had never even considered a career in combat sports, because I had never had anyone tell me I was any good! Having someone like him encourage me flipped a switch and the week I returned to Springfield, I began hitting mitts regularly with my, now, kickboxing coach, Clyde Hicks. He initially talked me into staying for MMA training to try out the ground. I fell in LOVE with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the rest is history!
Tell us about your nickname and how you got it ?
I believe that someone else has to give you your nickname and no one has named me yet! So if anyone has a suggestion, I would be interested to hear what it is! Haha
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter?
When I trained in Las Vegas, I watched the dedication and drive of some of the kids who trained at the Mayweather Club. I wanted that. I wanted to be a part of it. Part of me was a little envious that these kids had the opportunity to start working on this dream so young. And it clicked that I wanted to be on the same path they were.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to enter the world of MMA ?
Some people were a little confused. They just didn’t expect it from me, I guess. My best friends were honestly the most excited out of anyone. One of my best friends, Hailey is a huge UFC fan and she always gets so excited when I have a fight coming up. My mother, on the other hand, thinks I’m going to die of a brain aneurysm and is terrified every time I step into the cage.
What is your current record ?
I am 2-0.
What is your favorite strike submission or combination to use in a fight ?
I love the inside leg kick followed by a right hand. It seems simple, but it always opens up my opponent.
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
My little brother is incredibly driven and dedicated to his passion, music, at such a young age. I wish I had found my drive as early as he did. Watching how much time he devotes to practicing and performing motivates me to continue to push forward in everything that I do.
What team do you train with ?
Infinity Martial Arts in Springfield, MO. We are a Nova União BJJ school under Leonardo Pecanha. We also train kickboxing.
When you step in the cage where do you like the fight to take place do you like to stand with your opponent or take it to the ground ?
I feel like I am very comfortable with my grappling and my stand up at this point. I think that’s important as it makes me a more versatile athlete.
What does being fighter mean to you ?
It means being mentally tough. There is no other contact sport quite like fighting. You have to be prepared to stand across and face someone who’s end goal is to hurt you. When you walk into the cage, it’s just you. Every win or loss is very much your own, and that makes it very hard to keep the fight from going to your head.
What weight do you fight at ?
Atomweight or Strawweight.
What do you think separates you from other fighters In your division ?
I feel like I tend to be stronger than other women in my weight class. I also will force myself to train hard even if no one is there. I am willing to put in the extra reps on my own even if it’s late at night or very early in the morning.
If you could have one dream fight who would it be against and why ?
Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She’s the most dominant athlete at my weight class. I try to learn as much as I can from watching her fight.
Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
My mind is completely clear. I don’t think about the fight itself. I just think about each punch. 1,2. Step. 1, 2. Step. It’s just adrenaline at that point. No more nerves.
Who are you fighting next ?
I’m not yet booked for an MMA fight, as I just fought last week, but I am excited to see what 2017 has in store for me! I do plan on competing for BJJ in the AGF tournament on March 4 in Oklahoma City.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
Sportsmanship, regardless of my opponents. And I want to truly influence and encourage other young women to pursue careers in combat sports.
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
My coach, who has also acted as a father figure. He has coached me through every aspect of life over the last year, both in and out of the gym. Having him in my corner makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. He encourages me to treat my sport, teammates and opponents with respect and to represent my gym and myself in a positive way no matter where I go and what I do. Regardless of where I end up living and training, I’ll carry everything he has taught me with me.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport ?
Ronda Rousey. She revolutionized women’s MMA. She is the epitome of overcoming the odds and is to date the most dominant woman in MMA. I respect her dedication and drive to be at the top of her sport.
How would you describe your fighting style ?
Versatile. And methodical. I don’t like feeling flustered or not in control. When the fight gets away from me, I like to move out and regroup. When my head is clear, I can hear my coaches and I can use my technique to work through any situation.
What drives or motivates you to step in the cage and compete ?
I don’t like to half-ass anything. I truly want to be the best at what I do. I refuse to settle for mediocre. So I will keep pushing forward. I can see myself getting to what I now look at as my end goal, and then wanting and doing more. I feel like the only thing that SHOULD motivate you is yourself. No one else can do that for you.
What is something people might not know about you ?
I work full-time as a sports nutritionist for Supplement Superstores and I plan to stay connected with that company forever, regardless of my career as a fighter. I have the opportunity to work in an area of the fitness industry that I love and I can truly help people every single day. I love that.
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
Exactly what I am doing now. Working for the company that I support and believe in and going to the gym every day.
What gets you mentally prepared for a fight ?
Machine Gun Kelly! I have no idea why. I literally never listen to his music at any other time, but when fight week rolls around, you won’t see me jamming to anything else.
Do you have any rituals that get you ready to go to step in the cage ?
As I warm up, I always listen to “Invincible” by MGK on replay over and over. I walked out to that song for my very first fight. I hug my coaches and step into the cage. I always pray in my head once I’m in my corner.
Your backstage about to walk out your music hits what’s going through your head as you walk to the cage ?
Nothing. It’s just energy. If I know the music playing, I’ll sing the words in my head and let them resonate with me. If I don’t, I just let the beat feed into my energy.
Who is your favorite fighter ?
Ronda Rousey. Her attitude, drive and dedication has opened doors for women all over the world in our sport.
When you’re not training what do you like to do with your free time ?
Free time? haha! What’s that!? I honestly very rarely do anything besides work and train. I guess if I have a little spare time, you’d probably find me eating!
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
I don’t think I’ve had that moment yet. I’m new to this sport and I know I haven’t invested nearly as much in it as I eventually will. I think you have to do something incredible before you start talking about your accomplishments. If I had to pick, probably my last BJJ tournament. I was coming back from an injury and decided to roll the dice and go to a tournament alone, three and half hours away. I had about two weeks of full training after my injury to prepare for the tournament. I felt insane for doing it. But I came home with a gold and silver, met and competed against some incredible women and regained my confidence to take a fight two months later. Some day I’ll have an incredible answer for that question.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for women in MMA ?
It’s hard to be everything fans and promoters want you to be: tough, classy, exciting, entertaining, sexy. Women are definitely easier to market in MMA, simply because they are women, but that makes our role so much more difficult. There is far more pressure on female fighters than on males to look a certain way or promote themselves a certain way. When you’re a woman in MMA, you can’t just show up and fight. You have to play the game too.
What advice can you give to young female fighters ?
Keep your female training partners close. Find women who are positive and want you to succeed and don’t let them out of your life. There is this weird competitive nature that happens between women in combat sports. Because we have already broken the “rules” by being here in the first place, we feel almost as though we can’t relinquish that role to any other women. Female training partners will push you more, build your confidence and teach you things you can’t learn from men. It’s a beautiful thing to get to interact with other women who are passionate about the same things as you. Don’t forget that!
Where do you see women’s MMA in the next 5-10 years ?
I would love to see greater diversity in weight classes. It can be difficult to find match-ups and for that reason there are only a few weight classes in professional MMA that are really marketed for women. With women’s MMA on the influx, I can see, easily, the creation of at least 3 more weight classes for women in the UFC.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?
I would like to have my career in full swing. I am, honestly, unsure of what that will mean exactly. I have many options within my company and my fighting. I will have to see how my cards play out in both these areas of my life, before I make a decision on which route I want to pursue most indefinitely.
What are your goals within the sport ?
I would like to hold an amateur title by the end of 2017 and I also would like to go pro at some point. Another personal goal I have is to move on in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and receive at least my purple belt.
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
My gym. All my teammates. My coach Clyde Hicks, who I always know has my best interest in mind. My coach, and foster Dad, Dave Johnson, who guides me in everything that I do. My best friends, who have stood by my side since high school through everything and support every crazy goal and dream I manage to come up with. My coaches, Brad and Eric, for their immense knowledge and all the times they stayed late or came early to help me. My sponsor, Greg Downing, who is the primary reason I am able to pursue the sport that I love. Lastly, every single one of my training partners who consistently push me and show me all the things of which I am capable.