Fighter Focus: Jordan McDonald
Jordan McDonald is an amateur fighter from South Carolina who trains at Xtreme Couture and Drysdale Jiu-jitsu with a record of 5-3.
On Sept. 2, she defeated Jinh Yu to win the Tuff-N-Uff 110 pound championship. Mcdonald now looks to make the transition to the professional level of competition.
McDonald took some time to answer some questions about what got her started in MMA, her career and what she is doing to get to the professional level.
You started training in 2009. What first drove you to compete in MMA?
I’m just a very competitive person. Virtually any sport I’ve ever been involved in I ended up competing in. After putting in a lot of hard work you start to get curious as to where you stack up. I thought I’d do well & wanted to see if I was right.
It was easier to get a MMA fight then a Muay Thai kickboxing one (which was what I primarily trained in the beginning) so I made the switch from kickboxing to MMA in order to get fights easier.
What are some things you enjoy about competing in mixed martial arts?
I’ve been a competitive gymnast, surfer, [but] nothing compares to the test of a MMA fight. It is by far the most challenging & therefore most rewarding sport I’ve ever competed in. There is no more basic way of “beating” someone; a kind of ultimate competition.
Obviously the best part is standing in the center of the cage with your hand raised. All the hard work & grueling days pass through your mind, and this incredible sense of accomplishment and relief wash over you. There’s no other way to reach that emotional height and it’s addicting.
You train at a lot of different gyms like Xtreme Couture and Drysdale JiuJitsu. What are some of the benefits of going to different places to train as opposed to sticking with one camp to train with?
There’s pros and cons to training all over. Here in Vegas it is more usual for fighters to train at different gyms whereas back home in [South Carolina] we usually had one gym, one team.
Training at different places allows you to get a lot of different views, techniques and ideas, and you can then find what works best for you, also one gym may not have everything you are looking for as far as coaches and training partners so you might find yourself going one place for Jiu-Jitsu & another for your stand up.
The drawback is there is less of a “team atmosphere”. While I still train at other gyms occasionally I am starting to spend the majority of my time at Drysdale BJJ.
Another drawback of going a lot of different places is you are learning a lot of different things but becoming an expert at none. I’m finding that focusing my training at one or maybe two gyms is much better for me right now.
In your amateur career, you’ve had three losses, two of which were by decision. What are some of the things you do to help rebound from a loss?
Eat cupcakes… and cookies. Otherwise just time and getting back in the gym.
I’m never okay with losing but two of my losses were to respectable credible fighters who went on to do extremely well and I give myself much less of a hard time about those.
The worst is when you lose to someone you know you are better than. Those losses require extra cupcakes, cookies and time.
In your last fight you not only won the match, but also you won your first championship. How does it feel to have captured the Tuff-N-Uff 110 pound title?
Good especially since obtaining the Tuff-N-Uff title has been a goal of mine long before I even moved out to Vegas.
I’ve always considered Tuff-N-Uff to be the premier amateur fight promotion; they are willing to fly in opponents from all over the country and do so on a regular basis so when you fight for Tuff-N-Uff you know you’re fighting the cream of the crop not just of whatever region that fight is held in but of the entire U.S.
To have a Tuff-N-Uff title means all the more for that same reason. It’s very satisfying to have imagined something happening thousands of times in your dreams and then be able to make it happen in real life.
When you first started fighting, did you imagine that you would be a champion this early in your career?
Oh yes, it was a goal for 2011-2012 for sure. I’d been toying with the idea of going pro soon after my move out to Vegas but I really wanted to go after that title 1st. I knew I was capable just had to put all the pieces together to make it happen.
I heard the Jinh Yu fight was your last fight at amateur and you are moving up to pro. What are some things you will be doing to prepare to make that leap to the next level of competition?
I’m just going to continue to train hard. The scene of ammy women’s MMA is that there are some incredibly tough girls that are waiting to go pro, taking their time and getting a lot of experience as ammys, and therefore you’ve got some staunch competition even as an ammy oftentimes.
Obviously you have to prepare for [five-minute] rounds as opposed to three but I typically train [five minute] rounds anyways so my training won’t really change much.
Who are some of the people who have made an impact on you since you started fighting?
Maurice Travis who I have to credit with getting me started and instilling the love of the sport, especially Muay Thai, in me. Jon Owens for keeping me training even when we had no gym and no coaches back home for such a long time.
Now, Robert Drysdale, Gil Martinez, Jake Ellenberger and all my teammates out here and in California who have helped me take my game to the next level.
In addition to being a fighter you are also a model. How do you find time for modeling, training and still have free time?
What’s free time?
Typically once I get 2-3 weeks out from a fight I’m not doing much besides training & right after a fight, depending on how my face holds up I try to get right back to working a bit more to catch up on my bills and getting money back in the bank.
I’m always training, but I allow work to take more of a priority after fights for that reason. You just find time to do things you care about and you just find time to make money so you can keep on doing the things you care about.
What do your family and friends back home think about you being a fighter?
The ones that know me well are supportive and not the least bit surprised.
The ones that knew me only when I was younger, they might be more surprised just because I was pretty shy & quiet back then.
Basically everyone thinks I’m a little crazy and that’s fine. They’re right.
How far do you want to go in the sport?
I want to see how far I can take it. There’s less concrete milestones for WMMA. Strikeforce could be considered the female version of the UFC and therefore could be some people’s ultimate goal, but you also have promotions like the all female fight card Invicta that are doing an amazing job and have gained an incredible amount of street cred in a very short amount of time.
I can’t say I’d be disappointed if I only ever fought there. I’m not one of those people that’s stuck on women fighting in the UFC.
If that happens, great, if not, I don’t really care and most female fighters that I know don’t either. We just want to fight, & fight on a respected stage and we want to push ourselves and do well. That’s it.
What else would you like readers to know about you?
They can follow me on Twitter @JordanMcDonald, Facebook, and I now have a website up & running, www.Jordan-McDonald.com
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