How to become a professional MMA fighter—Part One

Q: What do you know about your opponent?

A: My coach, Bill Banks from Spartan Gym, doesn't want me to know anything about my opponent until weigh in the night before the fight. And I'm leaving my faith in his hands.

Q: Do you think female MMA fighters perform differently than their male counter parts?

A: I think female fighters are aggressive and can fight just like the men do and sometimes better. I guess this all depends on who we are talking about.

Q: Do you feel like you are progressing in your training?

A: Yes. I'm working harder to give my best in my first pro cage fight and feel confident.

Q: What is your favorite technique for this week?

A: Perfecting my triangle chokes and working on the ideal set up.

Q: Did you make any break-throughs last week?

A: Doing full contact fighting with men and going home without a busted nose is always a breakthrough for me.

Here is a slide show of Portugal's favorite MMA technique for this week, the reverse triangle choke from side control as shown by her coach Ralph Garcia at World Class Martial Arts in Tampa, Fla.:

Portugal has earned several gold medals in amateur competitions of Brazilian jiu jitsu, Japanese sport jiu jitsu, women's tri fitness and national grappling competitions. When she does not train for her upcoming MMA fight she works as fitness model or designs fashion wear for her company Rare Ninja. She also freelances as organic nutritionist and homeopathic healing consultant for professional MMA fighters.

For most professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters training for upcoming bouts means much more than working towards payday. It is a form of self-discovery and quickly becomes their way of life. MMA fans are usually not aware of the dedication and hard work, not to mention long hours that go into the preparation for a professional fight in the octagon.

The female MMA fighter, Caroline Portugal, reveals first-hand what it takes to get a shot at the limelight and how she prepares for her upcoming pro-debut at the Real Fighting Championships (RFC) event in Feb. 2010 in Tampa, Fla. during some Q & A as first part of a new weekly MMA training series.

Q: How has your training changed since you started getting ready for your first professional fight?

A: Before I knew I was going to fight (professionally) I just trained for (amateur) tournaments every other day. Now, five months before my first pro fight, I'm doing something everyday. I'm either working with my conditioning coach, Alan Molina, at either of my dojos, World Class or Spartan Gym. I'm doing something six to seven days a week. If I'm not at the dojo working on technique or sparring, I'm doing sprints or weights at home. I'm focusing on impact conditioning. My diet is 3000 calories a day. I try to spar with everyone while staying injury-free.

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