If we are talking about the future of the women’s divisions of MMA, look no further than the IMMAF.
Their youth divisions for athletes under 18 have provided a secure environment to grow and learn. It also gives them an opportunity to prove their skills against others and win championships.
In the coming weeks we are highlighting some of these athletes.
Abigail Alvarez took home gold at the IMMAF Youth World Championships in Bulgaria representing One Legacy Training Center and Barreto BJJ lin San Diego, California. A second generation fighter, she is coached by her father Christian along side Victor Barreto and Victor Cubillas. She fell in love with Muay Thai at a young age, but took a while until she could train striking martial arts. Since then she is finding success in all aspects of the sport.
Wombat Sports: What got you interested in competing in MMA?
Abigail Alvarez: My dad took me to his Muay Thai practices everyday since I was about 3 years old and it seemed really fun, but I was too young so I started as soon as I turned 7 and I just fell in love with the sport and loved knowing that I had a solid team to share that passion with.
Wombat: What do you enjoy about it?
Alvarez: Fighting is kind of like my therapy because I’m able to get my mind off of everything and just focus on improving and learning something new.
W.S.: How have your friends and classmates reacted to you competing?
A.A.: My classmates are usually really surprised when they find out I fight because I’m pretty small and they’re not used to seeing girls fight, but either way they’re proud of me and my accomplishments.
W.S.: How about your family?
A.A.: Thankfully, I have a very supportive family that’s always cheering me on and giving me confidence when I start getting hard on myself.
W.S.: Who do you look up to in fighting?
A.A.: My biggest role model is “Thug” Rose Namajunas because I relate to her a lot. I feel like as fighters we’re expected to not be afraid of getting in the cage, but Rose is open about her fears and insecurities, and knowing that one of the best fighters has had to overcome those obstacles as well has made me feel validated.
W.S.: How do you feel about the future of females in MMA?
A.A.: I’m very confident in the future of females in MMA. More women have been getting into fighting over the years and I believe that women fighters can take this sport to another level. Personally, I feel that we’re more entertaining to watch.
W.S.: What comes naturally to you in MMA?
A.A.: Something I’ve always had since I started fighting was grit and aggressiveness. I’m constantly attacking and I keep going even if I’m hurt.
W.S.: What have you found difficult?
A.A.: I think the mental process of fighting has been the most difficult for me because I have a lot of self esteem issues and I’m really hard on myself. Sometimes I defeat myself before I can even fight and it shows in my performance.
W.S.: How has it been to compete in the IMMAF?
A.A.: It was such a beautiful and fun learning experience to compete in IMMAF. I got to see so many new fighting styles and create memories with people from all over the world.
W.S.: What are your aspirations in fighting?
A.A.: As I get older I’ll probably be focusing more on jiu jitsu competitions. I don’t plan on going pro in MMA, but I’ll be fighting my whole life anyway so I definitely won’t count it out. Either way, I hope to inspire other youth to work hard, chase their dreams, and take care of our community.
W.S.: Anyone you’d like to thank/add?
A.A.: I’d like to thank my dad and my coaches for always pushing me out of my comfort zone and for always seeing my potential when I couldn’t . I also want to thank everyone who had faith in me and donated money in order for me to get to the IMMAF competition in Bulgaria.