In the second fight of her pro MMA career Christine Ferea (1-1) went up against multi-title winning kickboxer Tiffany Van Soest (1-2). Despite the bout being an incredibly close-fought contest, Van Soest was awarded a unanimous decision victory. At Invicta FC 26 Ferea is looking to rebound against Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez (5-2).
Like her previous opponent, Ferea is a kickboxing veteran. The 35-year-old flyweight spent nine years competing in Muay Thai, amassing an amateur record of 13-0 and a pro record of 1-0. Ferea admitted to Bloody Elbow that she shouldn’t have been fighting as an amateur for so long, but chalked it up to, “not having a very good support system” around her at the time; one that could have helped her “get to the next level and help make better decisions” in her fighting career.
During her time in Muay Thai Ferea itched to face-off against Van Soest. That’s why she jumped at the chance to fight her in Invicta this May (even if it was at a weigh class below what Ferea is used to).
Even though Ferea ended up dropping the decision to Van Soest, she says she was happy with the sense of validation she felt from taking such a credentialed kickboxer to the scorecards. “I stood with a seven time world champion,” said Ferea. “So it was great to test myself against her and to see where I stood, as a stand up fighter. And that’s why I kept it on the feet, too.”
“I learned a lot from that fight,” continued Ferea. “I’m not used to losing much, so it kind of hit me like, ‘Whoa, I’m not used to that feeling.’ The whole thing just made me smarter. It made me better. It is a cliche, ‘you learn more from your losses than your wins,’ but it’s actually true.”
Ferea thinks she may have been too timid versus Van Soest. She said the same about her pro debut, in which she TKO’d recent UFC signing Rachael Ostovich. “Next fight, I’m definitely not going to let that happen again,” she assured. Ferea admitted she also has no plans to ever fight at strawweight again, claiming she “felt horrible” at that weight for the Van Soest fight.
A HUGE @InvictaFights debut for @ChristineFerea! #InvictaFC21 #UFCFIGHTPASS pic.twitter.com/ZYCXHLvOzw— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) January 15, 2017
On Friday Ferea will compete in her more natural flyweight category against Karina Rodriguez. Fighting out of Mexico City, Rodriguez’s only losses have come to UFC talents Alexa Grasso and Poliana Botelho. In her last fight, at Invicta FC 24, Rodriguez beat up Barbara Acioly.
“I watched her last fight,” said Ferea of Rodriguez. “I saw some of her bad habits. Some of her good habits. I like to watch a little bit, but I don’t like to get too stuck on who they are. You don’t know what they’re going to be like that night. You don’t know if they’re going to have injuries. You don’t know if they’re going to be on point. You don’t know if they are going through s—t, you just don’t know. So I just like to get a gist of who they are and then just concentrate on me and my strengths and improving my weaknesses.”
Ferea said not getting too wrapped up in her opponent is also important when it comes to formulating a game-plan; one which is flexible given all the intangibles she felt come with just about any bout a fighter could get into.
“I’m going in there with an open mind,” she explained. “A lot of the time people don’t like to stand with me, so we’ll see. I don’t think it’s very smart to stand with me, because if I connect; she’s going to go down. But, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I keep my mind open. I want a fight. I want a crazy fight. But if I go in with one mindset and something else happens; that just throws you off. So I have to keep myself open to what’s going to happen. I’m prepared for anything.”
When Ferea is announced inside the Invicta cage on Friday night, she’ll taking the tag of ‘misfit’ with her. It’s a nickname she has amplified with a tattoo of the Misfits’ band logo on her left shin. But for Ferea, the term is more than just a nickname – it represents everything she is fighting for.
“I’m fighting for all the misfits out there,” claimed Ferea. “People who are coming from the bottom and don’t think there’s a way out. I want to show that they can get anywhere they want to, if they can put in the hard work. With hard work and dedication, and believing in yourself and your family, your training, whatever you put your heart into, you can be successful no matter what. I’ve pulled myself up from the mud and I’ve done it through fighting. That’s what I can hope I can show people.”
“A misfit is something that is put out to the side. That’s, like, not included,” further explained Ferea. “I’ve come through some pretty rough times and I’ve realized, since I’ve been young, that people want to put me to the side. Even in school, teachers would be like, ‘Oh we’ve never seen a kind like her,’ and not in a good way, either! They’d be like, ‘What is wrong with her?’
“So, I’ve always been a misfit — someone on the outside. I’ve never felt a part of, or been included in, the popular groups. It’s just a part of who I am and I embrace it. And I don’t think of it as a negative. It could be a negative, I guess, people make it a negative when you’re different or you’re not popular. But to me it’s more about embracing who you are no matter what society or anybody else thinks. Because it doesn’t matter what they think. You have to just keep going. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself, and give up, or you can get up and do your thing and succeed.”
Fans can see Ferea do her thing this Friday night, when she takes on Karina Rodriguez at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz. The event, which includes Mackenzie Dern vs. Kaline Medeiros and Vanessa Porto vs. Milana Dudieva, streams exclusively live on UFC Fight Pass. The action begins at 8PM ET.