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Roxy Blog: The Mental Game of MMA

How exactly does our mind-set effect our performance? A sports psychologist could tell you better, but what I know is this: A few years ago, after I had a few hard losses in a row, I changed my attitude and started winning again.

In the beginning, I used to be all heavy metal and clenched teeth and blood from battle. But I stressed myself out so much that I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t think. So I asked myself, as we fighters often do, “Why the hell am I fighting again?”

Why indeed? And the answer is…..”Because it’s fun!” It’s fun. I love to fight. I feel that those who fight only for money rather than the love of the fight game, tend to lose more frequently. Especially amateurs or upcoming fighters…notice how hard and scrappy they fight? Like they have nothing to lose?

So how do you MAKE yourself have the right attitude?

My “Happy Warrior” character was getting happier and happier every time I fought, and in Valkyrie my entrance music was “Happy Boys and Girls” by Aqua. But when I lost by arm-bar in one minute in Strikeforce, I was anything but happy. I was crushed, and vowed that I would win my next fight even if I died trying.

Actually, a big part of it was my coach, Kunioku. I was telling him what a good coach he was and how much I was learning, and he said incredulously, “Really?” Then I went and lost in Strikeforce. Without proving myself. He made a joke, “If you lose your next fight, maybe I’ll have to retire coaching!” With that little jab, my mind was set: “That’s it, win or die.” When I read that joking email, I literally felt a chill or some energy current run through my body.

In the hotel, at the press conference, on the bus ride, other fighters were talking about the sight-seeing, what they would do after the fight, the after party, etc etc. I knew they would lose. Because for me, there is no life after the fight. My entire world lead up to one focal point: about 8 PM on Saturday January 30th.

At dinner on Friday, Kunioku asked me about the after-party times and flight times. I replied, “There is no tomorrow.” He was taken aback and then started laughing. “Planning on dying? Then have a nice trip to heaven…but I have to catch the plane tomorrow.”

It turns out, I won by choke in the second round. I had so much to prove to myself and to him. I’m glad I won, but that’s not the only important thing about this fight…I want to see a video as soon as possible to see if I really made myself proud, made him proud, made my fans proud. Just before the fight, when my mind was repeating “Win or die” I had to stop for a moment, and ask myself that ‘why’ question one more time…then I smiled and thought about how much fun I’d have fighting. With that happy thought, I entered the cage.

(You can read more Roxy blogs here or via her Myspace blog, or you can buy a sponsor shirt here with all proceeds going directly to helping Roxy train. If you haven’t seen Roxy fighting and wanna know what the big deal is, check out our highlight!)