This weekend I caught up with one of the greatest Female fighters in the world Lauren Murphy. We talked about her fight with Sara McMann and all the hard work that lead up to it. Here is the Excerpt from that interview. Huge thanks to Lauren for taking the time to do the interview.
MMEH: A lot has happened since our last interview, Sorry again for getting you in hot water with Invicta but it seems to have worked out ok for ya.
Lauren Murphy: LOL! I don’t think that was your fault. I think Shannon Knapp wishes me well. I hope she does! I believe she is very passionate about women advancing their MMA career and she wants to see us be successful. So I am sure she is happy for me. I honestly am not sure what the huge deal was about me wanting to go to the UFC. It’s not a strange thing to want to fight in the UFC. Cris Cyborg has been quite vocal about wanting to sign with them, and no one is giving her any shit about it. She’s not the only remaining champ in Invicta to want to sign with the UFC, either. No one can seem to tell me why it’s wrong for a fighter to want to fight in the biggest and best organization in the world. Really, there were only one or two people who voiced any negativity about it. They know who they are and they know they’re wrong lol! So at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what those two people, or anyone else thinks. I belong in the UFC, that’s where I want to fight and I took the chance I had to get there.
The truth is, when someone talks about me on Facebook or Twitter, I see it, and I have to ask myself, “Am I going to let this person decide for me, how I am going to feel about myself?” The answer is no. It’s always been no.
MMEH: what was it like to get the call from the UFC talk us through that day.
Lauren Murphy: My manager called me and said he had good news and bad news. He said the bad news was that I was going to have to fight in August, which I had been trying to avoid for numerous reasons- my son was with us on summer vacation, we were planning a move across the country in the beginning of July, etc- so anyway, he said, “You’re going to have to fight in August,” and I just knew what he was going to say! I knew Sara had been having a hard time finding an opponent and my manager had talked to Sean Shelby. I asked, “Am I going to fight Sara McMann?” and he said, “You’re going to fight Sara McMann.” I repeated it so my husband could hear, “I’m going to fight Sara McMann!” but I could barely talk so it came out very quietly! As soon as I hung up the phone I jumped into his arms and we both started yelling and freaking out like we had won the lottery. It was a dream come true.
It’s a surreal thing. I have only been training four and a half years now. I never played any sports before taking up MMA. When I started, and even up to a year or so ago, it was ridiculous to think I could ever be in the UFC or fight women in the top 5. I’ve always been kind of athletic, but not the most athletic, and I’ve never been the fastest learner- I’ve always just been a work horse, like a nose-to-the-grindstone get-it-done kind of worker. So to see it pay off is really an amazing thing to me. It’s almost bizarre.
MMEH: How was your camp leading up to the fight?
Lauren Murphy: I had a great camp. I wish it had been just a bit longer, but I really believe we made the most of the time we had and by the time I walked into the fight that night, I knew without a doubt there was nothing more I could have done to prepare. That’s important for me mentally when I fight, to know that I could not have possibly trained any harder. There is always the desire to have a longer camp to work on more things, but if wishes were fishes, there would be no room for water in the sea, right?
Also, it was my first camp with The MMA Lab and John Crouch. I think we will work a little more cohesively for my next fight, there is just a certain level of trust and getting to know one another as a fighter and a coach that only comes with time in the gym and time together at the fights, in the trenches. I love training under coach Crouch and at the Lab, and there wasn’t anything wrong or done poorly in this fight, it’s just that things will run more smoothly next time. It’s kind of like getting a new bike. On the new bike, of course you can hop on and GO, but it will feel a little weird- not like your old bike. After a while, you’ve adjusted the seat, greased the chain, and tightened the brakes, and you’ll be able to not only ride the bike, but take it off jumps, let your friends ride on the handlebars and race through anywhere with it. That’s kind of what it’s like going to a new gym, it takes a little bit to get used to.
MMEh: Talk us through the fight, how did it go in your eyes?
Lauren Murphy: During the fight, in the first round, I really should have escaped that first single leg right at the beginning, when she first shot it. I think I just got a little nervous and a little star struck and I kind of gave that takedown away. That was my mistake. After that initial takedown that she got, for the rest of the round, I really felt -in the moment, during the fight- that I was winning. I kept thinking, “She isn’t doing anything and I am doing everything. I am doing all the work here. Me hitting her this much should win the round for me, especially if I can make her bleed.” So when the bell rang for the first round to end, I got up thinking I had won that round. I thought my strikes were worth more than her takedown, because she never passed or did any damage or improved in anyway. I didn’t cut her like I wanted, but I did hit her an awful lot and the ref never stood us up, so I thought the round was mine. I think the second round was close, and the third round was mine pretty clearly. When that fight ended, I thought I had won it. I looked at my coach and said, “I won that fight, right?”
MMEh You out struck Sara 193-64 but only 48-38 in significant strikes, do you feel you did enough to win?
Lauren Murphy: The truth is…..It doesn’t matter how I feel about it! The judges made their decision and that’s it. At the time, I thought I had won the fight. But Sara was the one who got her hand raised. My job, as a fighter, is to either finish my opponent, or convince the three judges sitting ringside that I am the dominant fighter. I may have convinced people elsewhere, and that’s wonderful, but I am supposed to convince the judges that I am the winner! I wasn’t able to do that that night, so I have to look at that and ask myself, ‘Why not?’ ‘Why were they not convinced of that?’ Of course it feels good to my ego to hear people say, “You won that fight!” because I hate to lose, but the truth is, I lost. If I want to improve I have to look at why I lost. I don’t want to get into why I feel a certain way about the decision the judges made, because it’s over and feeling anything about it won’t help me now.
MMEh: This is the first time you tasted defeat in your MMA career, how did it feel?
Lauren Murphy: Losing feels awful. It’s heartbreaking. I keep wanting to have those moments back so badly, I just want to go back to that fight knowing what I know now. It’s hard to get around that. In a way it’s almost like a grieving process, I went through the five stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance. You have to remember, I’ve never lost before, AND I’ve never played a sport before…..so losing is pretty new to me. it’s a weird, raw, feeling. So I’m trying not to be too crazy about it, I know everyone loses and it doesn’t mean the end of a career, especially in MMA, but it’s still really new to me. I don’t like it. I don’t plan on letting it happen again .
MMEh: Great fighters say they learn more from a loss then a win, what did you take away after that fight?
Lauren Murphy: I learned a little more about having that sense of urgency in those takedown transitions than I would have if I had won. Next time I have to escape that takedown first and foremost, and change that instinctual “hit-hit-hit” mentality. So completing those scrambles and ending up on top is going to be one of the biggest lessons technique-wise after this. I also learned I am right where I belong in the UFC. I have seen where the bar is set, and honestly, I think I can raise it even higher. I am still young in my career and the learning curve for me is still steep, so that’s good news. I also learned a lot about my team and my new coach, how the UFC works, and what I am capable of. It was a great learning experience for me. It hurts to lose, but I think the old saying is right, you do learn more. Or maybe the lesson seems sharper because it stings more….
MMEh: It was a smaller crowd than most anticipated, how was the crowd for you?
Lauren Murphy: I was glad it was a small crowd! For my UFC debut I couldn’t have picked a better venue or night. A good small crowd was awesome, it kept me from really getting too overloaded, I was already on edge because I had a tough fight in the UFC for my debut. So a good small crowd was welcome. Next time, I will be more relaxed and a bigger crowd won’t be too bad, but this time, I was glad to have a small crowd!
MMEh: What is next for Lauren Murphy?
Lauren Murphy: Just getting back into the gym and working on whatever I am bad at while we wait for the UFC to call. We have some ideas about where we want to take my striking game, and how to improve my overall MMA game and I think we’re going to be working really hard on making sure I am a complete mixed martial artist. I want to get a little bigger for my next fight, try to put on a little muscle. I want to compete at no gi worlds this year, so I will be training for that as well. I think 2015 is really going to be an excellent year for me. 2014 hasn’t been bad by any stretch, but I think 2015 will really be my year.