Amidst the bitter sweet pungent odor of blood, sweat and sacrifice, at Combat-Do, trains a dedicated, young fighter, Pearl Gonzalez. Pearl has been fighting most of her life and has much to show for it. Pearl has an outstanding fight record; she’s 8-1 in MMA, 52-8 in Jiu-Jitsu, 2-0 in Kick Boxing, 1-0 in Boxing and 1-0 in Muay Thai. But now, Pearl is taking a huge step in her MMA career by signing on to the XFC. Time is winding down, but Pearl is training as hard as she can to make an impact at her debut.
They say a name is what makes a person. For Pearl, that sentiment couldn’t be truer. Like a pearl, she is as strong as she is lovely. Pearl is a hardnosed, tough as nails fighter, but still with a sense of humor. Pearl regularly trains at Combat-Do, where she came up. Combat-Do is a unique martial arts gym, founded by the legendary Bob Schirmer. I was fortunate enough to experience this comfortably gritty gym and watch Pearl work on her grappling. I even had the honor to take part in Pearl’s training and I can humbly say; she’s twice as tough as most men I’ve grappled with.
After both a physically and emotionally taxing training session, I interviewed Pearl.
Ben Leven: How long have you been fighting?
Pearl Gonzalez: Since I was eleven. I started training at eleven in Pankration.
BL: What is your professional record?
PG: Pro 0-1, Amateur 8-1.
BL: What got you into fighting?
PG: I was raised by my dad, he was a single parent. I acted out when I was young and my dad got me into martial arts as an after school program, to keep me out of trouble.
BL: Who is your favorite fighter?
PG: I don’t know, there’s just too many. James Tony, he’s a boxer. He’s really good at not getting hit.
BL: When is your next fight?
PG: February 22nd, in Charlotte.
BL: What do you prefer, stand-up, ground, both and why?
PG: I prefer stand up. Ground work is too hard.
BL: How do you feel about the inclusion of women in the UFC?
PG: It’s awesome, we have a lot of talent and I hope it sticks, women work just as hard as men. We just need more exposure.
BL: Who do you favor at UFC 157, Ronda Rousey or Liz Carmouche?
PG: Again, don’t make me chose. I really don’t know. I have to give it to Carmouche. She stepped up to Rousey when no one else would.
BL: We are at a crucial point of development in women’s MMA. What steps do you think should be taken to further that development?
PG: More people need to know about us. We need to get fans to tune in to Invicta, G3 Summit. We need to get people to watch.
At the time of our interview, Pearl was not sure who her opponent would be at her XFC debut. But according to the XFC website, Pearl will face Suzie Montero, also making her XFC debut. You can all catch the fight February 22nd, on AXSTV. Win or lose, I am confident Pearl has what it takes to make a hell of an impression. Keep reading as I plan to have regular updates and interviews with Pearl.