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Dear Roxy - ‘What’s the worst you’ve ever felt on a fight night and still won?’

Roxanne Modafferi tackles your questions, Happy Warrior style, in her ‘Dear Roxy’ column for Bloody Elbow.

Roxanne Modafferi poses for weigh-ins ahead of UFC 271.
Roxanne Modafferi poses for weigh-ins ahead of UFC 271.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Roxanne Modafferi returns for another edition of Dear Roxy, the advice column where the ‘Happy Warrior’ goes toe-to-toe-with questions about fighting, training, and life in general.

Last time, we focused on the value of win streaks vs. name wins. We also looked at the possibility of a fighter’s union sometime in the future and how scoring is weighted for striking vs. grappling. We looked at the value of sparring and openweight tournaments too.

This week, we’re talking about being sick & injured going into a fight. We’re also talking about the possibility of an MMA ‘masters division’ for older athletes, gearing camps for specific opponents, and how it feels the day after a big win or hard loss. We’ll also take some time to talk about psychological warfare and how valuable it is to try and present a strong image mid-fight.


Dear Roxy,

“What’s the worst you’ve ever felt on a fight night and still won? How do you deal with losing?” — circusglimmer

Dear Circus Glimmer,

I felt exhausted and drained before my first TUF 26 (The Ultimate Fighter Series) fight against Shana Dobson. My menstrual cycle had just hit and I felt like I wanted to just sleep. Thankfully, I managed to get myself going before the fight and had a good performance. I won by mounted elbow TKO.

My neck was in a lot of pain before fighting Tara Larosa the second time in Moosin. Well, my neck, back, and shoulders were always in pain, so any victory was a triumph over those things.

I dealt with losing very poorly. I’m trying to be better about it nowadays. I feel depressed and low-self esteem for a while. I wanted the ‘me’ who lost the fight to disappear and go away, so I would train super hard so I could morph into a new ‘me’ who would be stronger and win my next fight. Every day I went to practice was one step away from the loser me. That allowed me to feel more confident going into my next fight.

Now what I realize is that fighting is not a scientific method. It’s not like doing a school project where, if you research and prepare, the result will be glorious. Someone is fighting you back, trying to foil you, and the outcome is a myriad of options. You can’t beat yourself up for losing if you prepare very well, go forth bravely, and do your best.


Dear Roxy

“How is the process of adapting in camps to counterattack the opponent’s qualities?” — Positive-Media423

Dear Positive-Media423,

It’s difficult because often the fighter tries and succeeds in improving, so weaknesses we see in previous fight footage aren’t the same. Every fighter tends to have certain tendencies, though. For example, when they throw a jab straight, they might drop their defensive hand after the straight. That allows for an opportunity to land a counter. I might practice slipping and throwing, or trying to kick.

I’ve had mixed results. My coaches prepared me to counter calf kicks and be ready for Casey O’Neill to rush me and take me down. She actually never rushed me, but she did throw some calf kicks.

We always try and ask training partners to try and mimic our opponents when we spar, to prepare.


Dear Roxy,

“I would love to hear about the day/week after the fight. When the lights and cameras go away, how does your mind and body feel? I imagine we don’t fully understand how it feels when your body is wrecked even if you won a hard fought battle.” — Huck77

Dear Huck77,

If I win the fight, I enjoy rewatching the fight, looking at pictures, and going through fans’ messages on social media. I love reading MMA news articles and soaking in the positive energy. I go about doing chores every day like I’m walking on cloud 9. I don’t mind any physical bumps and bruises.

If I lose the fight, I feel depressed. I try and hang out with friends every day, because I cry when I’m alone. I feel embarrassed to be out in public if I have a swollen face. I comfort-eat a lot of ice cream.


Dear Roxy,

“What do you think the importance of psychology has in MMA? Forrest Griffin said whenever a round ended even if he was dog tired even when his nose was broken he would run back to his corner and make it seem like he had plenty left so his opponent would think that. When you were in there did you ever try to psychologically effect your opponent or was it only ever physical and tactical?” — vatisitgrandpapa

Dear vatisitgrandpapa,

I feel that my emotions don’t impact my fighting too much. I tend to perform at a similar level whether I’m happy, under pressure, or something hanging over me. Who knows if my impression is actually correct, but I always attribute my losses to certain techniques failing, choosing the wrong technique at the wrong time, or the other girl landing more strikes. I have gotten frustrated certain things weren’t working that I thought were supposed to work.

UFC 271: Roxanne Modafferi v Casey O’Neill
Get hyped!
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Lots of people are more affected by things. That’s why fighters taunt or talk trash while actually fighting. Some stick their tongues out, shake their heads, smile, jump around to show energy, etc. I don’t care about any of that but lots of people do. Actually, come to think of it, when Casey O’Neill let out a battle scream during our fight, I got really hyped up in a positive way.


If you’d like to submit your own questions for ‘Dear Roxy’ feel free to email me at basilisk875@yahoo.com, with the subject line “Dear Roxy”, or reach out on twitter @RoxyFighter with the hashtag #DearRoxy. Or simply leave your questions in a comment below on Bloody Elbow. Look forward to hearing from you all soon.