Four straight wins gave her a championship opportunity against Dana White’s Contender Series alum Vanessa Demopoulos under the LFA banner, where she failed, but a quick return to the win column put her at the top. of the UFC call sheet when opening against Torres. has come.
To be able to go from “zero to the UFC” in less than five years is a massive accomplishment and a testament to both Hughes’ natural talent and the commitment she showed to her last sporting activity.
“Being an DI athlete takes sacrifice, discipline, time management, so all of those things, I’ve been busy already for about 12 years because I ran in college, high school, then university , so all of these things were ingrained into my routine and daily habits, so sacrifice was never an issue for me.
“I’m very grateful and very happy to have had these experiences because the nerves to step in and see Tecia on the other side of the cage were not new,” Hughes continued. “It was just another thing for me where, ‘I’m going to give the best of myself, she’s going to give the best of herself, and we’ll see who finishes first at the finish line.’
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“I’m extremely grateful for this kind of experience and I think it got me on the fast track to doing something like this at the highest level, and I fully intend to be here for years to come.” .
While the straw finisher knows her athletic pursuits in high school and college gave her a solid foundation to build on when she entered her first MMA gym and fell in love with the sport, Hughes is also quick to credit her trainer, Eddie Grant, and women MMA pioneer Barb Honchak for helping her reach the sport’s biggest milestone in less than five years.
“I think the people I surround myself with pushed me down this fast lane, and working with Barb early in my career helped me push myself and grow so fast,” began the Catalyst rep. MMA, originally scheduled to take on Emily Whitmire in February before the TUF 26 alum was forced to step down. “There were so many things thrown at me so quickly that I had to either take over or give up, and I stepped up.
“I was like, ‘Let me be a sponge for the next two or three years and get this top level training’ and I think my competition as an amateur and from the start as a pro is helping me. Verry much.
“There were months where I got my *** beat on a daily basis which was great,” she continued with a laugh. “I am so grateful to call Barb a friend and training partner. Every time she walked into the gym, I was in awe, like “the first Invicta flyweight champion is in our gym”. She was so nice, so kind.