February 23rd 2017
Name – Grace Cleveland
Nickname – Thai Kitten
Weight – 105 Pounds
Record – 2 Wins 0 Losses
Team – High Altitude MMA/ Easton
Where are you from ?
I was born in Chiang Mia, Thailand
How long have you been training ?
Been training for 4 years total.
How did you get in Mixed Martial Arts ?
The gym I was at is one of the best Muay Thai gym in Colorado . So I got lucky to start my career at Factoryx.
Tell us about your nickname and how you got it ?
My coach started calling me the Thai kitten then followed my teammates. It is fitting since I am Thai and like kittens they are cute until you mess with them.
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter?
I knew it once I saw that woman could also compete.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to compete professionally in MMA ?
No no one was supportive at the beginning because either they thought I was a joke or I couldn’t do it just being a small woman.
What is your current record ?
5-1 amateur 2-0 pro.
What is your favorite strike,submission, or combination to use in a fight ?
I just like to be explosive and unpredictable so I never have anything that my favorite. I guess you could say Armbars, but that is because my very good friend Jennifer Perez who is a great purple belt told me they will always give you an arm. Which for the most part is true! So I’ll always go for an arm.
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
My coaches, teammates and friends. They inspire me to be great and push me.
What team do you train with ?
High Altitude MMA/ Easton
What does being fighter mean to you ?
For me it means being a better person. It changed my life
What weight do you fight at ?
What do you think separates you from other fighters In your division ?
That I’m not sure yet. I guess we will have to see since I am only at my beginning of my pro career. I feel though mentally I am different.
If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
That I am not sure either, but I’m sure once the UFC opens our division I hope to have one.
Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
I would say Mallory Martin. I give her credit she did what she was supposed to do. I feel I lost to the lack of experience and if I could take the fight again I would, but at 105lbs instead of 115lbs. It was a huge learning experience and I’m glad we fought.
What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
Never underestimate my opponent and that they are going to go as hard as I am. So be ready for a fight. 15 mins of my life in the cage and I’m ready to do this!
Who are you fighting next ?
I’m fighting for King Of The Cage against Kelli Valerino in Sloan Iowa on April 15th.
What holes or weaknesses will you look to exploit in your opponents game during this fight ?
I will take the fight standing or on the ground. It just depends because you can never guess what their weakness is always going to be like. They can be a new improve fighter after their last fight so I never game plan that they suck at this area. My goal is to train like they are the best at everything thing too.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
It would be awesome to be one of the best, but I guess just fun and exciting to watch is good too!
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
My coaches and teammates because they are always there and a part of my career.
How would you describe your fighting style ?
I would say an all round fighter, but others might say I love the ground and I’m dominate there.
What drives or motivates you to step in the cage and compete ?
I train everyday so I can be ready. I think it is just being prepared and ready to show what I have learned and seeing my improvements.
What is something people might not know about you ?
I am adopted and grew up on a farm as a child. We used to have wild cats everywhere and as I kid I would chase and tame all of them. So I guess I always liked cats. I love animals in general!!
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
Working in the mountains during winter season or maybe the airlines so I can travel also. Not 100% sure always been an athlete so who knows. It’s hard to say I would or could have but I’m fighting so I don’t really think at the moment what else would I be doing.
What gets you mentally prepared for a fight ?
I honestly don’t think of my fight going into a fight. I believe in balance and I entertain my mind with outdoors activities or learning more about the earth.
Do you have any rituals that get you ready to step in the cage ?
Just need a really good warm up. I like warming up and moving.
your backstage about to walk out your music hits what’s going through your head as you walk to the cage ?
I’m ready let’s do this! Have fun
Who is your favourite fighter ?
Michael chandler, Dominick Cruz
When you’re not training what do you like to do with your free time ?
I love to be outdoors or doing something productive. Teaching myself new things.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
I would say getting a knee bar because that is rare to get. I feel for myself in accomplishment is just improving every time.
What advice can you give to young female fighters ?
Do everything with a purpose and give it your all. Don’t care about what others have to say unless it’s helpful. Do what’s best for you.
Where do you see women’s MMA in the next 5-10 years ?
Not sure besides it expanding and more woman will be competing and evolving.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?
I hope the UFC and being one of the best and a Champ😸
What are your goals within the sport ?
My goal is to just keep learning and growing. There is so much to learn it’s awesome!!
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
My Family, coaches, teammates and friends who have been apart of my journey🙏🏽