It's hard not to compare Marina Shafir to Ronda Rousey. Hell, any highly-touted WMMA prospect will get compared to Rousey. But there are other similarities: Shafir is a decorated Judoka who has stormed onto the scene with three quick amateur victories. I'll let you guess how she won... Yeah, three first round armbar finishes. Also like Rousey, Shafir is photogenic, brash, and well-spoken.
Oh yeah, they're also best friends, roommates, and training partners who dream of one day dominating the UFC together.
Marina Shafir, who turns 25 in April, was born in Moldova and immigrated to America when she was five. She first met Rousey when she was 11, and befriended her a few years later. Throughout their teenage years, the two were teammates on USA Judo. Rousey would compete in two Olympic games, earning a bronze medal in 2008. For her part, Shafir won the USA Judo Junior Olympic National title in 2005, and became a U.S. Judo Federation Junior National Champion in 2006.
Shafir's first amateur bout came in May 2012, and her most recent was this past weekend. She trained with Renzo Gracie Latham's Bruno Tostes in New York until this past December when she moved to the West Coast to live and train with Rousey. While she's finished all her opponents in impressive fashion, Shafir obviously has a lot to prove before she becomes a star like Rousey. In fact, none of her opponents have won a single amateur bout. Still, Shafir has big plans: She intends to turn pro this fall, and hopes to fight in Invicta FC's 145 Pound Featherweight Division. And her ultimate goal is to becomes the UFC's Women's Featherweight champ while her buddy Rousey holds Bantamweight gold.
Before anyone talks up a potential Rousey/Shafir super fight, know that it ain't gonna happen. Even if the two weren't friends, Shafir is simply too big to drop down to 135. While Rousey competed in Judo at 63kg and later moved up to 70kg, Shafir fought at 78kg (172 pounds). For MMA, Shafir is slowly losing weight to make 145, and her latest fight was held at a catchweight of 150. Shafir's dream opponent is Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, who has sparred verbally with Rousey over the past year.
In the following interview Shafir discusses her career and her friendship with Rousey. She gets excited about the possibility of assisting Team Rousey on TUF 18. She's especially eager for Miesha Tate to be the opposing coach. As Shafir puts it: "I'm gonna poop on her cupcakes". Her words, folks! Not mine!
Here's the video of Shafir's fight yesterday, Saturday, March 23rd, against Danielle Mack at Tuff-N-Uff, complete with Ronda Rousey appearance:
And for funzies, here's Team Lloyd Irvin's Sijarah Eubanks submitting Shafir at a Grapplers Quest tournament last year: