It is the call any female fighter wants to get.
For Danielle West, it was a long time coming. After an unfortunate concussion sidelined Elaina Maxwell in her match with #5 Unified ranked featherweight Julia Budd, Invicta put in the call to ex-patriot West to fill in.
The Bostonian has been living in England for years, fighting all over the planet, with the exception of her birth country of the United States.
The opportunity means more than just fighting in the states for the first time for West. It also means climbing the ladder in the featherweight division and a step up in competition.
We talked to West about getting invited to fight at Invicta and her expectations coming in.
Wombat Sports: What was it like to get the call from Invicta offering you the match?
Danielle West: It was a bit like getting into Harvard or like being asked to sit with the cool kids at lunch in high school! I have been wanting to be involved with Invicta since its first event and even before when it was with Blackeye. I loved the idea of the all women’s card since it was done on Hook-n-Shoot revolution and have been so thrilled to see the rest of the world has caught up with the concept thanks to the shrewd marketing, matchmaking and talent at Invicta.
Seeing the IFC2 line up was gutting as it was 2 of my 3 losses and when they first announced the IFC3 lineup I felt like I was never going to be asked on. There are just so many talented women training and competing now that they must have a HUGE queue in all the weight divisions inquiring from all over.
I definitely feel very very blessed to be asked and lucky in a perverse way to get called in at the last minute since it means I will have a lot less pressure riding on me so I can go in and enjoy myself like I do at the grappling tournaments.
Wombat: This will be the first time you will be fighting in your birth country. Why so long to come fight in the states? How does it feel to finally do so?
West: It’s not for lack of trying, trust! I have been calling Strikeforce, Bellator, Sharkfights, you name it! I think because there are so many talented women at 145 in the US they don’t need the added expense of flying me over. Though that speculation has been more to make feel better so I don’t have to go crying to a therapist.
I honestly have no idea how the US picks the international women fights. I am excited to be fighting in the US although like when I fight everywhere else it feels foreign in a sense since it’s so far from my hometown outside Boston. I think fighting in MA would be a bit nerve wracking. Where I don’t know anyone in Kansas. I love that I can go to Whole Foods for food after my weigh in though! Yay!
W.S.: You have tangled with some of the better international featherweights in across the planet. What does it mean to take on the competition here in the U.S. for once?
D.W.: I like to think it makes it easier facing the next opponent but it never really does. You can’t ever really know how strong or fast or tough they are until the bell goes. And Budd has had some tough competition herself. She certainly looks strong, well rounded and focused. It will be interesting to see how I match up against her as the only way I really get to test myself is in the matches. There aren’t lots of women at my size and experience to train with so each match is a great personal benchmark and a lesson in personal improvement.
Being in the states and her being Canadian means she will be my first ever opponent whose mother tongue is English. Some previous opponents speak perfect English whereas others needed an interpreter or I would do really bad mime language.
W.S.: You are facing Julia Budd, who is starting to evolve from her striking game. What do you think of her as an opponent?
D.W.: She looks incredibly tough! And totally jacked! I am hoping that all my hard work in training and refining my tools (as well as developing some new skills) will be reflected in the match. Every one of my opponents scares the crap out of me and then when I get in there I realise they’re human and often surprise myself at how I hold my own. It will be an honour to be considered worthy competition and I will do my utmost to validate if not exceed that consideration.
W.S.: Anyone you’d like to thank?
D.W.: Yes!! Janet Martin & Invicta for considering me! My wonderful sponsors: Scramble scramblestuff.com, Cherry Active cherryactive.co.uk, Q5 Combat q5combat.com, Bridge Dental http://gumz.co.uk/ (having had my teeth knocked out in a street fight and then salvaged means dental protection is paramount!!!), my coaches at Team Underground and New Wave Academy, my sparring partners, manager Colin at Pro-Game Management, my fans, friend, family and my guinea pigs.
Also thanks to Awakening for doing this lovely promo video http://www.r-awakening.com/ They were amazing and did such a great job!