More and more opportunities for women to fight MMA has made several boxers make the transition over. Among them is Duda Yankovich. The former WIBA light welterweight champion has made an impact in MMA already, getting a keylock submission in March over Daniela Cristina.
We talked to Yankovich about making the switch and training at one of the best gyms in Brazil – Team Nogueira.
Wombat Sports: What made you want to change over from boxing to MMA?
Duda Yankovich: My base will always be boxing. I love boxing, but lately it is very difficult to get fair and decent fight in boxing and all the media and sponsors are interested in MMA. I live in a city where you have more than ten professional centers of MMA, so there is the reason.
Wombat: Have you given up on boxing all together or do you think you will return to it sometime down the line?
Yankovich: Maybe, if I get an interesting offer. I might do one more fight in boxing. Depends.
W.S.: How is it to train in Rio at Team Nogueira? Do you have any female training partners there?
D.Y.: It is great, very motivating with the presence of all excellent athletes who train there. Yes, I have 2 girls and they happen to be in the same weight class.
W.S.: How was it to learn the ground game?
D.Y.: In the beginning, it was very difficult, complicated, and all new, but then I got used to it. I kind of started to like it, and find it very interesting. I actually like it a lot now.
W.S.: Striking is a bit different in MMA than it is in boxing. Was it difficult to change your habits?
D.Y.: Yes, that is true. The biggest problem was my base, in the beginning I received a lot of take downs. My base had to change, so I can defend them. And of course, I do not throw as many punches as I used to when I fought boxing.
W.S.: You lost your first fight in MMA. Did you learn a lot?
D.Y.: That fight made me start training seriously in ground fighting, like BJJ, submission and wrestling. It is not nice to lose but for me, that loss was a salvation.
Yankovich with Holm
W.S.: You faced Holly Holm in boxing before. Do you ever see yourself facing her in MMA down the line?
D.Y.: I don’t know. I don’t think of that because it is not like that I want revenge. She was better and she won. I don’t mix up emotions with my work. If the opportunity comes, I would probably fight her again. That is what we do, right?
W.S.: What was it like to get the call from Invicta?
D.Y.: Certainly a huge honor. Invicta is a very serious event and all the best female fighters are there so being invited made me really happy.
W.S.: Your opponent Miriam Nakamoto is a world class kickboxer. How do you see the match playing out?
D.Y.: It will be a good fight!!
W.S.: Anything you’d like to add/thank?
D.Y.: What we do today is very serious, is not just a hobby , it is our job, and we got some respect because of that. I am happy to fight, and there is no other place where I would prefer to be, than in octagon or ring.
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