‘I know I will never have an opponent as tough as my teammates’ Lauren Murphy


Lauren Murphy [8-1] will this weekend be facing Liz Carmouche [9-5] in her second outing for the UFC at Fight Night 63 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Not only is Lauren one tough athlete in the octagon, she also says exactly how she feels without holding back.

In this interview, I asked Lauren not only about her upcoming fight with Liz Carmouche, her thoughts on the Ronda Rousey and Bethe Correia fight but the current scoring system in place, amongst a few other gems and let’s just say Lauren has not minced her words. Have a read.

Lauren Murphy UFC
Lauren Murphy UFC

First of I’d like to take you back to your fight with Sara McMann and I’d like to ask, as Joe Rogan puts it “UFC jitters really exist”.  Did you feel this in your UFC debut fight, and did that did happen for you or as you stated in our last interview “It is just another cage. There maybe a few more cameras, a few more lights, a few more people in the audience, but there is only one opponent and she is human, just like me”.

I got a little jittery. I was under the bright lights, fighting a woman I’d only ever seen on TV in the world-famous Octagon. It was a little nerve-wracking. I got excited and didn’t think as well as I wanted to.

Talking of your debut fight against Sara McMann, having being scored in the way that it was and although you were the more active fighter, even from bottom position landing shots (and I’m not taking anything away from Sara McMann in that fight), do you feel the judging system as a whole needs to be looked at in the way judges are scoring these kind of fights?

I think the thing that we could really revise would be, I’d like to see judges explain why they think one fighter won a particular round. Just a quick sentence on the scorecard would be sufficient: “Maintained top position”, “was more active fighter”, “landed more effective punches/kicks”; something like that. Sometimes after fights we’re all left wondering what fight the judges were looking at, and I think if they had to provide an explanation we wouldn’t be so confused.

It was announced 10 weeks ago that you would be facing Liz Carmouche at UFC Fight Night 63 in Fairfax on April 4th for your second UFC outing. True Lauren Murphy fans will know that you never shy away from a tough fight, infact you welcome them. What was your initial reaction when Sean Shelby offered you this fight, as I know you had been vocal on social media about other possible match-ups? 

I said yes right away. My manager called me with the matchup and I knew it was perfect immediately. I’d still like to fight Bethe Correia.

Okay so I’m just going to throw this one in here! When I saw on your Twitter feed a fair few weeks back, that you were asking to fight Bethe Correia, my own eyes lit up.  Lauren Murphy fans that know you, know that you bring it in every fight that you have, so in saying that, you and Bethe in my own opinion would have made perfect sense in adding value and integrity, let alone a perfect match up stylistically, but it was not meant to be! How do you feel that the champion Ronda Rousey has a crack at putting Bethe Correia in her place, as Ronda Rousey has clearly stated it was her choice because of it being personal?

I think it’s ridiculous. Bethe is not a great fighter. She has zero punching power, is a mediocre grappler and can’t wrestle. She’s always talking about the “power of her hands” and “the weight of her fists”….no one believes that shit. She beat Jessamyn Duke in a decision and then beat Shayna Baszler. No one is impressed by that. They are the two worst fighters in any division in the UFC, who cares if she beat them. Her opponents have a combined record of 1-6 in the UFC, and the “1” is a win over Peggy Morgan who is no longer in the UFC after having one fight. I guess the UFC gave Bethe to Ronda to fight as a favor…that’s a pretty big favor. 

Lauren Murphy first official UFC weigh-In
Lauren Murphy first official UFC weigh-In

You’ve been at The MMA Lab for quite a while now. How do you find that you have settled in, and how are you finding that you have been evolving, whilst being under the tutelage of John Crouch and training with arguably some of the best athletes around at the moment such as Benson Henderson, Jocelyn Lybarger, Joe Riggs and Mitch Clarke? 

 I’ve been at The MMA Lab for a year! I love it there. The team is a family, everyone is very kind. When I got there I felt like the worst fighter in the room, and maybe I was, but because of that, I’ve come a loooong way. The training is difficult but the reason I love it so much is because I know I will never have an opponent as tough as my teammates, and no fight will be as hard as any fight camp I go through.

Once again according to MMA Odds for your upcoming fight against Liz Carmouche, it appears you are ‘The underdog’ – I know you have previously stated you ‘like being the underdog’ but just for once, wouldn’t it be nice to have the betting odds on your side? (although self belief beats betting odds any day in my opinion). 

 It doesn’t matter to me. The odds makers don’t know shit. They don’t know how hard I’ve worked, they don’t see the progress I’ve made. It doesn’t matter to me what they think. It’s just like the media controlled rankings. The rankings are a joke. The media decides who they like by who gives the best interviews, creates the most traffic for their site, and who they are buddies with, not by who fights the best. I decided a while ago that none of that matters.

Looking at Liz Carmouche’s record, she has 6 TKO wins, 2 Submission wins, 1 decision win and 5 losses, subsequently you also have 6 TKO wins, 2 decisions and the split decision loss to Sara McMann.  On paper this looks set to be pretty much a great striking battle with knockout potential, although, this is MMA we are talking about, therefore anything can happen.  Without giving your own game plan away, what do you hope Liz Carmouche brings to the cage On April 4th? 

I don’t know what Liz will do. Neither of us have ever been known as great strikers, all our TKO’s come on the ground from ground and pound. If it comes to a striking battle, it’ll be because we’re evenly matched as grapplers. It doesn’t matter, I’m ready for anything!

What challenges do you think Liz Carmouche may pose on the night and where do you feel that you will be stronger in this fight?

Liz is strong, and tough, and she works hard…But no one works harder than I do, no one is harder on themselves than I am, so no one makes the progress between fights that I make. I am not underestimating how physical she is, or how tough she is. Those are her biggest strengths. I’ve just been working on being a better MMA fighter. I think that’s where I’ll be strongest.

Liz Carmouche broke WMMA history in being one of the first women to compete in the new UFC bantamweight division, with obviously the title holder and current champion Ronda Rousey, for which she gladly asked for the fight. When news came through that the UFC were now having 1) a female bantamweight division, 2) Ronda Rousey was given the title, 3) Liz Carmouche offered to fight Ronda Rousey and in turn made WMMA history. Did this motivate you even harder in striving to becoming a better athlete yourself, for when you finally accepted the UFC’s offer this time around?

Yes.

In the eight months you have been ‘off’, as there have been no scheduled fights for you (not, that you have not been asking of course), have you been competing in any BJJ/Grappling competition’s at all just so you can sharpen up your arsenal of weapons in your ever-growing box of tools?  If so can you talk me through your achievements you have gained during this time competing.

I competed at no-gi worlds this year and won my division and placed in the open. That was pretty cool, but next year I’d like to do it again at a higher belt level. I also did a couple gi tournaments and stuff, just working on my grappling in general.

Lauren Murphy at the Atlanta Open
Lauren Murphy at the Atlanta Open

UFC Media Days! How do you think you managed your first one back in August 2014, for your debut fight against Sara McMann and how are you feeling about this one coming up for your fight against Liz Carmouche, is it a case of knowing what is to be expected from you now?

I haven’t been a part of any media days. I just give a couple of interviews to different outlets through the week, but it’s been like that for every fight for the last several years.

Let’s talk about ‘The Lauren Murphy Documentary’ – I heard it is now complete and you had your own private viewing so you could sit back and enjoy the moment. What was it like to finally see it on-screen completed and did it exceed your expectations?

A guy named Jay Clark edited the documentary and put all the footage together, and he did an amazing job. It was really well done. It just shows a small part of my story, who I am, what I’ve done. Maybe someone somewhere will be inspired by it.

I’m still not sure where it’s going to be released, probably at small theaters locally around Houston and Alaska, and then we’ll go from there. It might end up on YouTube.

Lastly are there any sponsors or Thank You’s you would like to give to anyone?

Always I want to thank my team, which not only includes my coaches and team mates, but also my husband, who is my rock, and my best friends, who are the peanut butter and jelly of the bread slices of my life. I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored me for this fight, particularly MMA Signatures. AJ Hiller (the owner of the company) is a great dude and has a really cool business idea, so make sure you check him out.

Many thanks for your time Lauren it is always appreciated.

You can keep up to date with Lauren on her Twitter account here.

You can keep up to date with Lauren of her Facebook page here.

You can keep up to date on The Lauren Murphy documentary here.

UFC Fight Night 63, happens this Saturday, April 4th from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virgina. Headlined by Chad Mendes vs. Ricardo Lamas and free to air on FOX Sports 1, BT Sports in the UK.

If you have missed any of the previous articles on Lauren you can view them here:

https://fiveroundswithemma.com/2013/12/07/introducing-the-inspiring-lauren-murphy-a-true-fighter-in-every-sense-of-the-word/

https://fiveroundswithemma.com/2013/12/12/part-2-introducing-the-inspiring-lauren-murphy/

https://fiveroundswithemma.com/2014/08/07/i-like-being-the-underdog-lauren-murphy-on-ufc-debut/

Photo Credits: Lauren Murphy Facebook

Photo Credits: Altanta Open/Kill Cliff/Moskova

‘If I remember right he said he had “perfect stand-up” – Alex Brunnen


RAGED UK MMA takes place this Saturday, March 7th at MECA in Swindon which promises to be an action packed night of amateur and professional MMA.

I managed to catch up with one of the co-main event headliner’s, 23-year-old,  Alex Brunnen, who in his own unique words discusses with me his up-coming fight with Julian Kerr, fighting back in his hometown since his amateur career, training at The MMA Lab with Benson Henderson and Joe Murphy plus his coach/mentor and good friend Oz.

Alex Brunnen

You’re going to be making your home town debut on March 7th at RAGED UK in a co-main event.  How does it feel to be finally not only fighting in your home town but to be also co-main event?

Whatever the running order of the fights, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m looking to put on a performance whether I was fighting first or last. 

You train out of SVT in Swindon under your mentor, coach and good friend Michael ‘Oz’ Osbourne. Can you talk me through what it’s been like for you having such a good friend guide you through your career thus far?

Haha Yeah!  Me and Oz are close. When I was just getting into this sport at 16 years old, Oz was like a god to me  Ahaha!  He is a real fighter.  He’s down!  I mean,  I remember this one time, after a fight some guy threw some beer in the ring at me and Ozzy jumped straight out of the ring and started ‘throwing down’ into a packed crowd; beast!      

You went 3-0 as an amateur before turning pro with a current record of 2-2.  Personally I feel people do not give you the credit you’re due; Having fought Joe Orrey in your first pro fight who is the current Painpit Bantamweight Champion for which you won; Nad Narimani who is now at Cage Warriors which resulted in a second round loss. You’re a guy who will rise to the challenge of a tough fight and not back away, why?

I know I haven’t fought as much as my teammates over the last few years due to personal reasons.  I finally feel I’m at a stage now,  where I can go to other MMA gyms and not feel completely out of my depth.  Back then when I was younger, I suppose I used to think of myself as a kid and perhaps I felt as if I didn’t belong with these guys but that’s changed now.

Looking back I feel I rushed the start of my career and should have had at least double the amount of amateur fights that I had; ultimately it doesn’t really matter now though.

Alex Brunnen

I’ve heard you’ve been over to The MMA Lab in Arizona to do some training.  Firstly how was the whole experience; secondly did you get the chance to train and roll with Benson Henderson; thirdly tell me more about trainer/fighter Joe Murphy.

Yeah I spent 4 months in 2014 over at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona. It’s a great place. That gym is a martial artists dream. I THINK it has the most UFC fighters training in a single room anywhere in the world. The amount of lightweights and featherweights there is, is unreal! Everyone trains hard as fuck and there isn’t anything that someone wouldn’t be real good at.  In my opinion it is the very best MMA gym in the world.  John Crouch is a 2nd degree BJJ Blackbelt under Royce I BELIEVE and he is a wicked coach.

Yeah I’ve rolled with Benson. It was not nice (in a good way), that guy is a physical specimen.  He really is something different and I’ve yet to see an athlete that’s close to his calibre.

Joe Murphy is a cool guy! Real good BJJ and he’s also a big fella for the MMA weight he fights at.  He caught me in some funky omoplata shit when we were rolling one time and I was thinking “what the fuckkkk”.

For those people who do not know you or who have never met you, how would you describe yourself as a person then as a fighter?

As a person?  hmmm…  That would be a bit biased hearing an opinion on myself.

 I’d like to say fucking legendary but I’m sure someone will disagree somewhere haha!

Would you say that there are any similarities between you and a young ‘Nick Diaz’ at all, as in his fighting mentality, his confidence – which more than often is misconstrued into being more cocky and arrogant than what it really is and that of his ingenious fighting style?

Nah there’s no similarities that guy is insane!

Do you think the key to a successful fighter is self belief in being mentally prepared  as much as physically being prepared, if not more so?

The fight game is 90% mental I’ve come to realise that if you’re not in it mentally as much as you can be, you aren’t in it at all!

Alex Brunnen
Alex Brunnen

You’re facing Julian Kerr this Saturday March 7th at MECA, Swindon. Do you know much about your opponent or the challenges he could pose on the night?

If I remember right he said he had “perfect standup”  We’ll see!

At the Pre-fight press conference I noted one of your quick-witted responses “You can be an inch taller but six feet under is quite low” looking back on that, what are your thoughts?

Haha I was having fun. I was chilling!

What can we expect to see from you on the night when you face Julian Kerr at RAGED UK?

A war.

As you’re the home town fighter, do you feel for once having a big home crowd will play a big part into the atmosphere and how you feel once those cage doors shut on Saturday night?

I’m hoping to draw the energy from the crowd and fire it into Julian through combat.  It will be nice not be booed in my home town for once!

Lastly is there any sponsors or anyone you would like to thank?

Shout out to my team SVT, we train hard, we’ve really grown as a team lately too and there’s a good vibe. Shout out to Oz, and my kickboxing coach Daniel Hughes out of Scorpion kickboxing gym.

Thank you for your time Alex it’s appreciated.

You can keep up to date on Alex on his Facebook page here.

RAGED UK takes place this Saturday, 7th March at Swindon MECA.

Tickets are £20 and £40 VIP available from all fighters, The Forum, The Khyber; alternatively  you can buy online at  www.swindontickets.co.uk or  click on their social media pages Facebook/Twitter.

Tickets will be available on the door (subject to availability)

RAGED UK EVENT POSTER
RAGED UK EVENT POSTER

 

Photo Credits: Alex Brunnen/Tear-up/Knuckle-up

 

 

 

Benson Henderson Discusses “Non Permanent” Move to Welterweight


 

INSIDE MMA correspondent Ron Kruck sits down with former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson to discuss his transition to welterweight for his upcoming match at UFC Fight Night 60 versus Brandon Thatch February 14.

 

Video Credit: AXS TV Fights