On the night of April 29-30, Irina Alekseeva made her debut at UFC Fight Night 223 in Las Vegas. Our compatriot brilliantly broke into the best promotion on the planet. The Russian won, and then gave a fiery interview in the Octagon, which managed to go viral. We spoke to the Russian Ronda about the difficulties before the first fight and the plans for the future.
– After returning to Russia, you faced a terrible acclimatization. What happened? – There were very serious problems. When I was in the US, I did not have any acclimatization, despite the difference of 14 hours with Yekaterinburg. I left Russia when it was snowing, and there – +25. I went there and I felt comfortable, although many said that they come there and they don’t feel very good for like a week. Everything was great for me.
I’ve always been like this. When I flew to Japan for the SAMBO World Championships, I came back home, I didn’t have a very good week. And now – she came and wanted to sleep. I was stung during the day as if it was already late at night. There were some serious head issues in general. I understood that she still had a very difficult training period. In addition, in January I was sick with bronchitis, I was in bed with a fever for more than two weeks.
Apparently, all this has accumulated. I stayed very strong so as not to get sick before the fight. And the moral moments affected when I arrived after the fight. He even endured the flights very calmly, although there were four in one direction and four in the other.
We look back on Alekseeva’s debut victory in the UFC:
Russian Ronda has broken into the UFC perfectly! Alekseeva closed out her debut fight in the first round
– You are in Sochi. Gone to reboot? – Not precisely. I was already in preparation, I was engaged in muscle recovery after diets, I strengthened the muscle corset. This is cardio, a bike, it happened, I covered 100 kilometers a day. Everything was planned. But my friends called me in Sochi on June 1. I refused because I had to do business.
They called me and told me that they did not come in vain. I got scared and ran towards them. But let’s practice. Good quality guys. They don’t fight anywhere, they act like fans. They perform very well and beat even professional athletes. They also have to get up, eat and exercise first. I even got a tan in training.
– Have you heard anything about the next fight in the UFC? – We spoke with the manager, he asked me when he would like to fight. I am ready already in August, September or October. He suggested it himself in the fall. In summer, many people relax. Basically, everyone goes to camp, good sparring partners go on vacation with their kids. And in order not to fall into such a situation, we decided to prepare, wait. I accept any date, I did not gain much weight. It will be better to fight in the fall.
– Would you like to fight in a tournament in Abu Dhabi? – It would be nice to get to the numbers tournament. But I understand that a novice fighter. It is unlikely that they will put me in a numbered tournament. There it usually puts more stellar and strong. But who knows? I think I’ve made a good statement about myself. In the UFC, three of my videos were posted on social media at once. I think that says a lot too. They knew right away that I could make a fuss. If I still learn the language, then they will go crazy there. Even before the fight, I did a lot of moves, they all reminded me. And now Marina Mokhnatkina and Sergey Spivak say that everyone is asking about me.
Photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
How did you manage to make friends with everyone so quickly? – I generally communicated with gestures there. This is always so much fun for me. The people who fought a week before me were sitting around dying, and I was constantly making moves, they immediately had strength. I took the Brazilians out of the pool: they don’t come out, I go there with a bomb. If he had learned the language, it would have been in general … There, a trainer said that he had already started speaking in a week.
– Do you specifically study the language somewhere? – I don’t work anywhere. I have a conversational one. Books are books, teachers are teachers. They didn’t live there, they don’t know. I studied English for two months, it helped me by five percent. When people talk, you listen, you remember how they talk. So you repeat yourself. I feel much better when you are there and you study everything.
Photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
– About your debut and failed weight career. Was it a conscious decision? – No, I just got into a very unpleasant situation when I arrived. I had no seconds, no one. I couldn’t get to the salon because I couldn’t call a taxi. I have a Russian card, but I couldn’t go for cash. In the street, in addition, I could not train anywhere. There were no playgrounds on the street. I just ran once and that’s it. And somehow I needed to train so that the weight went.
When I got to the gym, everyone was with their seconds, sparring partners. And my second came just a week later. What was she supposed to do without him? Hitting pears, racing on the track? And it was already necessary to prepare, to solve everything for the opponent. There were three weeks left before the fight, it was necessary to fully train. And I stayed there alone. I had terrible psychological stress, bipolar.
I tried to be positive. Marina Mokhnatkina constantly supported me on the phone. As a result, the weight was simply lifted. We start with cardio, I run on the treadmill, but I don’t break a sweat. We went to the UFC, they sent me a nutritionist. He saw that there was not a drop of sweat, he offered a bath. I was dying there, Marina was rubbing my legs and head with ice. I’m covered in aluminum foil. 10 grams came out.
We decided to try driving in the bathroom. They got boiling water. He was screaming like crazy. My whole body was on fire. They kept me there for half an hour. Less 500 grams. It was already good. Then we made a few more visits, but after them the weight came back up. I rested and walked for 45 minutes. And again zero. Then they told me you can’t even drive and you have to get out with a ticket.
I couldn’t even speak in Bellator, but here I speak normally. As a result, we don’t drive, we make a conscious decision. The only catch was that the opponent could refuse. But I immediately told them that she would not act. She has experience, I am a rookie. And it would be inconvenient for her to act in such a situation. Everyone would have discussed her, she would not have endured this pressure and pressure from the public.
After the weigh-in, they gave us isotonics, I sit and drink. And then my face turns red. I understand that something is not right here. I understand that I have an allergy. Also, I was terribly nauseated. As a result, we quickly held a sterdown, they rushed to me for an interview, and I behaved shamelessly. She asked if there would be a lot of questions, she answered quickly and ran off.
I run to the bathroom and everything comes out of me. I understand that I have poisoning. The UFC nutritionist gave me a special drug without coloring. Upon my return, I began to feel bad again. You have to eat to be strong the next day. But I could not. I ended up laying down and sleeping for an hour and a half. Then I wanted to eat and realized that it was all over.
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– Was the last situation unpleasant? – No. I was in shock and they came to me for doping tests. I have 20 minutes before the fight and I can’t. As a result, the water in the toilet was turned on, and the leg was kept on ice. Heated right in the bathroom. And there he completely undressed and sat on a tile of ice. With pain half squeezed out of myself. And we went to stretch. But there was a lot of stress. Now I know that before the fight there may be such a situation.
– Marina Mokhnatkina strongly seconded you. Does it really help during combat? – I think from the side you always see more. We fight, we get excited, but it is seen from the outside. Therefore, you need to listen to the second. Especially when you’re dealing with a seasoned fighter who’s been through all of this himself. Also, he fought with Kayla Harrison. And Marina was the only one who had a normal fight with this American. How can you not listen to her? Sambo world champions don’t just become.
– Everything was in this fight: a wheel, a brilliant interview. What preparations to expect in the next fight? – These are not blank spaces. This is myself. Everybody knows I’m a curmudgeon, I love it. But I try not to offend people, not to be personal. I had a coach in Chelyabinsk who forbade everything. And I am a completely different person. Marina is wise and experienced. And she told me: “Do what you want, fight normally.”
I don’t know why my hands fell off. I completely forgot about protection. But, most likely, it was my psychological attitude. I knew I was better at rhythm. Therefore, I greeted as on the street. I didn’t care if I missed it or not. I’ll beat her until all her hands are dusty. I had a terrible cut in December from a man who is much heavier than me. My face was open, but I did not understand “muddy”. And I thought these girls beat me up?
– Does the victory allow you to think about the future and a possible belt? – Of course, in the future I would like to receive a belt. For now, I just want to win. No money, no belt. But everyone says that I am a future champion. People are telling me this. I am very glad that they believe in me. I will try to prove it. My job is just to train and perform. I don’t relax. What people say needs to be confirmed. And I will try to do it. When asked who she would like to fight next, she replied that I didn’t care. I don’t want them to tell me that bags were thrown at me.
Photo: Mike Roach/Getty Images
What dream fight would you like to have? – I would like to fight with all the tops. Amanda Núñez, Julianne Peña, Holly Holm, Irene Aldana. A lot of people ask me if I would fight Kunitskaya. Yes, I would fight. Many guys even start making friends after fights. And Kayla Harrison in the PFL. It would be good. But she is not as well known as Amanda Núñez. You know Cris Cyborg. That’s what I’d like to fight.