Throughout the next few days, we will be previewing the upcoming Storm Damage MMA one night featherweight tournament. The event is set for Saturday in Camberra, Australia. The event won’t be streamed, but a DVD will be available three weeks after on Stormmma.com.au.
Blencowe made headlines earlier this year as she became the WIBA and WBF light welterweight World boxing champion in a short notice fight. She was the underdog coming into the bout, but proved too much for more experience Daniella Smith, gaining Blencowe both vacant titles.
Blencowe, who has done tournaments in amateur boxing, looks to turn heads in MMA with winning the historic Storm Damage MMA tournament Saturday.
Wombat Sports: How did you get started in combat sports?
Arlene Blencowe: Three and a half years ago I walked into Allegiance Combat and Fitness Centre, where I met my trainer Jason Harris. At the time I was 26 years old with 2 children and had a dream to represent Australia at the London Olympics, as an amateur boxer. I was driven, determined and worked hard to get to the level I needed to be to compete against the elite.
Over the next 2 years I competed all over Australia and traveled overseas with the Australian representative team, racking up the experience with a busy 30 bouts in that period of time. I spent my amateur career fighting well above my weight division, fighting women in the 75kg category as this was an Olympic division. I walked around at 67kg. I was competitive and won gold at the Arafura Games, a major international tournament. However, I narrowly missed out on making the London Olympic team.
I was disheartened not qualifying and achieving something that had been the driving force for some time. After reassessing my goals I turned professional with my boxing. My next challenge was to become a world champion. This gave me a new passion and drive for the sport that I loved.
W.S.: You are the current WIBA and WBF light welterweight World boxing champ. Tell us about getting your first world titles.
A.B.: In June the opportunity came up for me to fight for the WIBA and WBF light welterweight World boxing titles against a well respected New Zealand fighter Daniella Smith with a 16-2 record; as opposed to my 1-1 record and amateur experience. On a week’s notice I had taken the fight. This was only possible because I had been keeping active with MMA fights and training. I was in shape and ready to contest the belts in a 10 round bout at such short notice. I won all 10 rounds by a points decision to win both titles. A dream come true!
Wombat: What made you turn to MMA?
Blencowe: I had two professional boxing bouts and then a long period where I wasn’t matched or didn’t have any possible opponents lined up. My last fight had been in October 2012. I continued my training, but in January 2013 Jason suggested that we add BJJ, grappling and wrestling into my training. For fitness, new skills, to keep the edge on training and to leave me the option of possibly competing in MMA.
I laughed at the idea of competing in MMA, as I knew absolutely nothing about submissions or anything to do with being on the ground.
W.S.: How has been the transition between boxing and MMA?
A.B.: My training partner, Sam ‘Sledgehammer’ Bastin a fellow MMA fighter along with my trainer Jason Harris, were extremely patient with teaching me. I have always been extremely athletic and have excelled in any sport to the point of being at representative level; athletics, netball, touch football, etc. But I have to admit at first I was a little slow at grasping the concept of the ground game. In saying that I gained a great respect for it and learned early on that just because I was dominant in the stand up, that doesn’t necessarily mean I will win the fight.
W.S.: You just started MMA this year. How was that first match? What did you do to adjust in your second and third fights?
A.B.: I had my first bout in April this year at Fight World Cup against Kyra Purcell, as expected I was dominant in my stand up but was taken to the ground and submitted by arm bar in the 2nd round. The fight received fight of the night.
I hit the gym hard over the next six weeks before my next bout in May against Kerry Barrett. I won by a points decision and was happy with the improvements I had made since my previous bout.
I competed again in MMA in July at Nitro9 against Jessy Jess (Rose). Although I lost that bout by RNC in the second round, I came away from the bout a better fighter having had that contest. Belief is the number one key element in becoming a successful fighter, once of course you cover the aspects of training and fitness.
W.S.: You are taking part of this historic tournament. What are your expectations?
A.B.: I truly believe that I can destroy my opponents and showcase my talents as a fighter and that this tournament can be the turning point in my career. I believe that I have all the elements to be a world class MMA fighter and therefore fulfill my next dream of becoming a world champion in this sport as well. My aim is to be noticed and this event will give me the exposure and open up doors for future events. Hopefully breaking into the international MMA scene.
I am very excited to be competing on the Storm Damage 3 card alongside the other female fighters. I am grateful to Storm Oshyer for giving me the opportunity.
W.S.: We have seen an increase in more female fighters over the past two years in Australia. What do you account for the growth?
MMA is the fastest growing sport and women in combat are quick to join the ride. Females can train and compete at Elite levels, just as men can. I believe that the increase in female fighters in Australia is due to the introduction of female amateur boxing into the Olympics and also having one female weight division included into the UFC.
W.S.: Anything you’s like to add?
A.B.: I would like to thank my sponsors ACFC, Allegiance Clothing, Outlast Nutrition, Enriched Health & Physiotherapy, Photography by Linda, Mesa Web Design.
Special thanks to my manager/trainer/promoter Jason Harris for everything!! He quoted back in 2010 “this girl right here, will one day be a world champion!”