Photo Courtesy – Dave Mandel/InvictaFC
DeAnna Bennett has had a rough few years, but she is back on track.
A solid camp behind her and a win at Invicta, she looks to continue her way to a title by defeating Kelly Kobold at Tuff-n-uff’s first all pro MMA event September 14th in Las Vegas.
We talked to Bennett about her return to the cage, the flyweight title picture, and finding a new training home.
Wombat Sports: It was very disheartening when you were cut from the UFC. What was your experience like with them and is that a goal to be back there?
Deanna Bennett: Not going to lie, it sucked, a lot, like giant hairy monkey nuts sucked, but it is what it is. I did not come to my December fight with the 100% I should have so I get it. I’ve made a lot of changes since then and am going to keep on working hard and training until I can get back on track and working my way up to the top.
Wombat Sports: You have had a rough few years going to a few gyms but finally ending up in New Jersey. How is it to be with the team out there and are you feeling you have found some stability in a training camp?
Bennett: Jersey has been amazing to me. The training I’ve received out here is night and day to what I was used to. I love my Utah team and coaches, but I needed more and different looks. I’ve found my stride out here and get to work with some of the top people around. I am so grateful for the work I get every day
W.S.: The last time we saw you, you had got a much needed win in you return to Invicta. How was it for you to get that win in front of your home town crowd and get back in the win column?
D.B: I was beyond ecstatic to get to fight under the Invicta banner once again, in my fighting home of Utah, and to get my hand raised. I needed that more than I can describe in words.I needed it not just for my career and goals, but I needed it to soothe my soul. It still was not my best performance and I have been working to correct that, and I will continue to improve every fight and get better.
W.S.: The flyweight title is still vacant in Invicta, with Pearl Gonzalez staking her claim to be one half of the title bout. How far out do you think you are from a title shot? You are obviously pressing Invicta to get you on a path for a title shot….
D.B: Its an interesting time for the Invicta flyweights, especially since Jennifer Maia left and the belt is vacant. I know Pearl has called for the shot, but does that necessarily mean shes claimed that spot? I mean, she has been the most active flyweight, but that’s not from a lack of trying on some of the other top flyweights in the division. She has made quite a run, but she has yet to fight the girls at the top that have been waiting for their chance to get in there. Vanessa Porto, Agnieszka Niedzwiedz, and myself haven’t been in the cage in a hot minute. Honestly I believe the next step for the division should be a 4 woman tournament for the title. I think that would be spectacular.
If you saw the interview they did after my last fight, I would love to fight Vanessa, especially if a title was on the line. Shes super tough and always at the top of the division and I want to push myself and fight the toughest people and that’s the challenge I’d love to take on.
W.S.: It has been over five months sine we saw you fight, but we are getting you at Tuff-n-uff in what will be their first ever pro female MMA bout. What are you thoughts about fighting for them?
D.B.: I’m grateful for the opportunity to get in any cage and fight as I have been ready to go since my last bout. I’ve tried to get on every single Invicta card since then, and if I cant get on one of those the chance to fight for another reputable organization is all I can ask for. I’m happy they asked me to fight and its going to be great.
W.S.: It’s not that far of drive from Utah to Vegas. Are you expecting a lot of friends and family to attend the event?
D.B.: My mother and dog are driving down, so I’m super excited! haha. They dont go to the fights, but having them down there helps the morale. I have a bunch of people coming and I am quite happy for the support, always
W.S.: You are fighting a pioneer in Kelly Kobold. What are you expectations?
D.B.: Shes tough, gritty, and doesnt give up. Sounds fun! I expect a hard fought fight. She doesnt have any quit in her so I expect to have to push myself harder than I ever had to get my hand raised!
W.S.: Who will you have in your corner?
D.B.: My coach Brian Wright cant come to this fight because he’s cornering a fighter on the LFA show in Atlantic City (side note: they were working to have me on that card, but some champs apparently get to pick their fights and apparently didn’t want that Vitamin D… *cough* *cough*) So for this fight I am taking two great teammates Corey Anderson and Karl Roberson.
W.S.: Not looking past Kelly, but would you like to fight again this year?
D.B.: I would never look beyond this fight, but yes, I would love to fight again this year. I need to fight again this year. Fighting only twice has been awful. I want to stay active and need to stay active. Too much time between fights gets me depressed and then I talk to food about my feelings, then I get fat and have to put even more work in the gym. Its a vicious cycle. But Invicta has two more cards this year, November and December and I will seriously take either of them. Please, please, please.
W.S.: Anything else you’s like to add?
Anyone in the Vegas area come check out Z Promotions Sept 14th! Its going to be a great night of fights! And thank you to my team and coaches who believe in me, and help me get better every day. And thanks to my sponsors New Jersey Nutrition, Defila, Thrive Spine and Sports Rehab, my management Suckerpunch and every friend, fan, and family who support me. Much love and awkward hugs for all y’all.