Tonya Evinger Interview – Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion

Our man on all things MMA Paul Jacob asked Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Tonya Evinger some questions in one of the most interesting pieces we’ve done.

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Thanks for answering some questions for us today Tonya, we really appreciate it.

Your fight nickname is “Triple Threat”, can you tell us how that came about?

Pretty much they gave me that name because I was good everywhere, I was winning fights with my boxing, my wrestling, and my BJJ. I was pretty decent everywhere when I started.

You have been fighting professionally for a just under a decade, what inspired you to start and what one piece of advice would you give to up an coming fighters?

Actually I started training in 2004, the scene was just so hard… there weren’t opportunity’s for girl fights… so I didn’t fight till 2006. But for me it started when I left Colorado Springs and the Olympic training center to move to Cali. I was tired of all the BS in women’s wrestling and the BS, USA wrestling played, so I just wasn’t interested in the sport anymore. When I got out to Sacramento my friend got me over training with her and I loved it from day one. I don’t know what to tell younger fighters, my careers been a rollercoaster. But I will say to be true to yourself, that’s all that matters when your old and gray. I can look back on my career and be happy with the decisions I made, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met and all the fun I really had.

Your are the reigning Invicta Bantamweight Champion. Bantamweight is one of the two Women’s divisions the UFC has, do you pay much attention to your potential rivals over there and if so, how do you feel you match up against them?

Haha I don’t care about anyone else really, I’ve learned to not worry about others sucess… it just makes me alittle on edge to know what I’ve put in and that it’s all really about selling for the UFC. I’m happy where I’m at because I’m treated like an athlete, hired for my abilities, and respected for my accomplishments. I will forever be grateful for Shannon Knapp and Invicta for what they have done for me and hundreds of other athletes that don’t fit the mold UFC is selling. I’m proud of what I’ve done and where I’m at and I’ll be happy long after its gone. That’s just something you can’t buy. UFC has alot of talent, but so does Invicta. And as far as the competition, we’ll I would put Invicta right up there with the top in the UFC. I definitely feel like I’m top 3 in the world, I feel like I am the best, I’m just taking a different path. Nowdays fighting for the UFC doesn’t mean your the best, it just means your the image they are looking for at the moment. It’s a joke actually to see how they handle athletes these days.

On the subject of the UFC, you were on the Ultimate Fighter in 2013, do you hope to one day make it over to the UFC or are you happy at Invicta?

Definitely could not give a shit about fighting for the UFC. Not saying I wouldn’t but I’m not gonna beg for something I’m good enough to be a part of. Invicta puts light on talent all over the world, female talent. That’s something the UFC can’t even grasp yet, they don’t see the talent yet. They see pretty faces and $ signs.

Since your decision win over Sarah D’Alelio, you have finished all of your opponents, how do you guard against complacency and / or overconfidence?

I definitely feel I’m the best, but with that comes doubt and feeling unsure. I just have confidence in the fact that I am talented and I will do what needs to be done. My main set back has always been my personal life and letting things get to me enough to where I don’t fight like I need to. In the cage is the last place I want to doubt myself. I don’t have that frame of mind where I’m questioning if I can win or not, I don’t think about much except how much damage I can put on my opponent. When I fought Sarah I remember the 2nd round I was actually in my own head thinking about winning or losing, I remember telling myself this girl can’t beat me. And that was the moment I learned to get past all that, I learned how to be sucessful. Since then, that’s not even a thought in my mind during my fights, all I can think is to hurt this girl standing across from me as bad and as fast as I can. I’m always looking for a finish.

I was perusing your Twitter and saw that an individual was trying to argue with you, once he started losing he immediately resorted to questioning your sexuality, as one of the highest profile “out” fighters, do you have to put up with that kind of ignorance on a regular basis and is it something that has negatively impacted your career?

Haha I absolutely have to deal with people like that on a daily basis. Guys are the worst, always judging our looks and our sexuality. Always insulting me. It actually pisses me off more than anything, I’ve never been one to sit and take it, I will beat the fuck outta someone for saying something like that to me in person.  Obviously I can’t get to those people so I’ve learned to use it to entertain me, to push me, to punish the opponents in the cage with me. I can hold a grudge forever and I will eventually get my revenge lol, just always has to be the girl I’m fighting that takes that beating. During my training camps it actually doesn’t bother me much though, keeps my head off the fight and distracted which is the way I like it.

At Invicta 17, Colleen Schneider will challenge for your title, how do you see the fight going and have you pinpointed any weaknesses?

I’m not really a visualization kinda person, I make things happen. I will make the same thing happen in this fight that I do every fight, I will enforce my will and I will beat on her till she quits or the ref stops it. I’ve never felt so comfortable in the cage as I do now, and I refuse to let someone beat me up. I can guarantee none of these girls grew up the way I did, I can guarantee she isn’t as tough as me, and I can guarantee she doesn’t want to win like I want to win. I see holes in everyone’s game, but I don’t plan on her being the same fighter we have seen in the past. She will change things to fight me. Those changes won’t matter, I’m good because my style is brutal. I’m out there to beat someone up, not have a fun exciting fight. This fight will be one sided.

With every title defence comes additional pressure, given the fact that Pannie Kianzad missed weight in September, this is your first defence. What strategies do you have to cope with pressure or do you feel that you thrive upon it?

I don’t think about the pressure, I don’t care about the title. My goal is to win. I have to win. I dream about winning. People always ask me about my title, truth is the title doesn’t mean anything. Winning is what matters to me in the end. Feeling like I did my best, performed to the best of my abilities. I refuse to regret anything, I try and leave it all in the cage. When I’m old and dying that will be the only thing left, regret. Nope not me, I will do and say what I need to. I will enjoy this life and man will I have stories…

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time or where do you hope to be?

Pshhh lol, I always want to be sucessful. That’s what I always hope for. I don’t even know where I’ll be in a year let alone five. My life has been full of experiences, full of excitement, full of unreplacable things. I would be happy to still be alive and healthy.


Quick Fire Questions:

Mighty Mouse or Cejudo? Mighty Mouse

Jones or Cormier? Cormier

Who is your dream opponent and why? Lol I don’t have a dream opponent, I just wanna fight.

Aside from the Invicta title win, what is the best moment of your career? I don’t know if I have an exact moment, more like a time. And that would be my Invicta era, I really feel good in my skin right now. Comfortable and real.

What is the weirdest moment? Weirdest? Hmm again I don’t know but I do have a craziest and that would be me and a male fighter getting into a brawl after an event in Southern Cali. Obviously I won cause he was a pussy but man that night was crazy as hell.

What is the worst moment? And the worst moment would be me losing to Alexis Davis for the 2nd time with the same submission. At a time when my head was so effed and my personal life was so messed up I just couldn’t pull it together to even train right.

How will you celebrate when you retain your crown? I’m gonna celebrate like I always do, come home take all my coaches and training partners out for some food and drinks. Then fly back to my real home and be with my family for a couple weeks.

And finally, do you FeelTheTip? Hell no I don’t feel the tip..and if it got close enough to touch me then someone is gonna lose their tip..


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