This Friday in Worcester, Mass., everyone’s favorite female fight nerd, Roxanne Modafferi, will be competing at Moosin. Her opponent is one that is familiar to her, Tara Larosa – they battled not that long ago for another promotion and many say their bout was one of the best, if not THE best female MMA fight in history. On May 21, Modafferi and Larosa go toe to toe one more time to see if they can make history again.
I had a chance to catch up with Roxy before she jumped onto a plane from Japan to America to get ready for the fight, and asked her about the rematch, Japanese training methods, videogames and more!
TFN: How’s training going for this fight?
Roxy: No matter if I’m training for a fight or not, I always try to improve my weaknesses. This is no different. Only a few specific things just for Tara. And the last week I have the “no touch” rule. I don’t do any grappling or clinch work…just to avoid injury that is so common, just cardio, but my cardio is naturally good.
TFN: Who is helping you prepare for this fight?
Roxy: Celine Haga has helped me a lot. She trains with me at the AACC when I need a partner, and also comes to my personal training lessons with Kunioku-san. Also Hiroyuki Abe has been an excellent coach for me, and of course Kiuma Kunioku. Kunioku works on special points specifically for me (as he should), and Abe-san drills us all in class together, since he runs the AACC.
TFN: Are any of these people coming from Japan with you to corner you for this bout?
Roxy: Kunioku is coming with me! I’m so grateful because he has to take time off from his own training, and away from his students.
TFN: Without giving away too much strategy, whats the gameplan for this match?
Hit the jump for the rest of this kick-ass interview!
Roxy: The strategy…is BEAT HER DOWN and show all the technique I learned in training!
TFN: As we mentioned you fought Larosa in 2006 and also took her on a grappling match some time before that, so how have you changed since that match and how do you think tara has changed?
Roxy: I think we have both changed as fighters. I’m not really sure exactly how she changed. I know she must have, as I have myself. I know I’ve become more well rounded, for one. I think that we both have a similar fighting style. So I’m thinking of how I can beat myself. Maybe that’ll give me a clue about her, but not completely. Kunioku watched some clips of her (there isn’t much on youtube) and pointed out stuff I hadn’t noticed.
TFN: You and Tara are known to chit chat sometimes via email and talk on the UG forum, so whats it like to fight someone who you have become friendly with?
Roxy: I think it’s HOW we became friendly. We first met at Nagas, and competed in different weight classes. Then met again at Hooknshoot, fighting different opponents. So we knew each other cordially without becoming BUDDIES, you know? But I knew I wanted to fight her some day…to challenge myself, and to become the best woman in the sport. So somehow, it’s okay. I can think of a few ladies, training partners, who I wouldn’t want to fight, and I had a bad experience fighting a friend in Judo….it wasn’t fun. But I can’t wait to smash Tara’s face!
TFN: Are there more opportunities for women in MMA in Japan or in America?
Roxy: I guess in America, and it depends who you are, what your political gym affiliation is. In Japan, you can either fight for Jewels OR Valkyrie. OR if you are super duper lucky, one organization will “loan” you to the other for a specific fight. And Deep sometimes has a ladies match, and Shooto has Megumi.
TFN: Is there a different work ethic or methodology to training MMA in Japan as opposed to america?
Roxy: Yes, there is. In America, people made it a science. In Japan, the focus is more on strengthening the heart, body, spirit
I have this impression, not always, but I sense it. Every gym is different. Various teachers are influenced by various others. Like Abe-san has a mixed western/eastern attitude, while Keishukai is hard core old fashioned, with the guys never doing any drills…
That is until Okami trained in the States for a while and brought stuff back and made everybody do it. That is a rumor, I had already left by then. It’s hard to say what’s inferior or superior.
TFN: Now seeing as this is a rematch with larosa, i want to ask you about another rematch, and that would the one you just had with marloes coenen a few months ago. you both have one fight apiece, would you like a third match with her to settle things once and for all or have you moved on?
Roxy: Part of me wants another match, but not right now. I want to focus on my weight division. She is bigger and physically stronger than me. She’s the only one who’s punches knocked me down. There’s a reason for that…. I mean, I got socked by Jen Howe and Larosa pretty hard, but didn’t get downed like with Marloes, in both of our fights. Now I have other means to win, but I’m just saying… I wanna go through my division. Maybe I’ll fight her in Japan or in some open weight tournament or something.
TFN: Last time you came to america for the strikeforce show, you bought yourself some goodies for your playstation, so tell us what you bought? Are you a game nerd as much as a fight nerd? What will you be splurging on after this match?
Roxy: Well I’m really upset, actually, because the PS2 only lets you use the joystick to control Spyro and Lara Croft. I HATE THE STUPID JOYSTICK! I can’t move the characters well. So I’ve only played a few times, got frustrated, and quit. I’ve been using the PS1 I received as a gift to try and beat my old PS1 Spyro, “Ripto’s Revenge”. Otherwise, I think I’ll have a shortage of carry- on space. I’m dragging fans and T shirts to sell but there is nothing after my fight. Nothing exists. I never think of a single thing past the night of my fight or else I get distracted. Those guys who are planning the after party and looking forward to this and that – they usually lose. I’m not planning on going shopping too much.
TFN: Are you going after any more fighter autographs at this event? Who do you have so far and who do you want the most that you don’t have yet from any organization?
Roxy: Hell yes, my magazine book is coming (TFN Note: this is sometimes also called a “Mook” if you are looking to buy one online for yourself)! I have a ton of people..including lots of people from that strikeforce card I went to (Fedor, Mousasi, Antonio Silva, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Brett Rogers, etc.), Shonie Carter, met him at some random chinese restaurant! I’ll just get everyone I can, even if there’s no picture for them to sign their name on. Mayhem’s pic wasn’t in there, so I had him sign in the margin. I really want Caol Uno. I always run into him and I never have the book with me. Also Matt Serra!
TFN: Looking past this fight, whats next for roxy in MMA? any chances we might see you in a new weight class in a bellator tournament or more fights on this continent or another?
Roxy: Sorry, there is no looking past this fight, as I mentioned. But I’m not dropping weight, I can say that much. I don’t feel so good walking around under 135.
TFN: So for now it’s just face smashing time on Larosa?
Roxy would like to thank Sprawl, Fightchix, Fighter Warehouse, and of course TheFightNerd (that’s me!), MMArising, and Fightlinker. You can get in touch with Roxy on twitter or myspace, both nicks are roxyfighter. and hang out in her chatroom on her site, roxannemodafferi.net where you can also buy some neat merchandise from her!