When my teammate first asked me, “Are you going to TUF tryouts?” I thought he was joking. Then another fan on Twitter has asked the same thing. When my shocked brain comprehended that the UFC was actually having females on TUF, I begged the boss of my English school for the time off. Surprisingly getting it, I quickly dropped a thousand dollars plus change on a plane ticket from Tokyo to Las Vegas. I enjoyed being reunited with old friends, foes-turned-friends, and potential opponents.
As fate would have it, I was honored to be selected to actually compete for the show. Bless my supervisor and manager for giving me a month’s time off for my “training camp.” It’s true, though – it was a training camp! I only told the truth to my mom, my head coach, and one of my best friends before disappearing into the chaos and secrecy of The Ultimate Fighter season 18.
We were secluded to our hotel rooms at first- luckily, I had the final volume of The Wheel of Time to keep me company. I texted Tara occasionally, read a ton, and tried to deal with the immense amount of anxiety, which I’d never experienced before. Even before my Strikeforce title fight against Sarah Kaufman I didn’t feel so anxious. Everything was on the line. Getting into TUF would mean a resurgence of my faltering career. My winning streak was broken by the infamous powerbomb slam (which is like one of the first things that comes up when you google my name! Nooooo! ). My record spiraled downward with unsuccessful cuts to 125 lbs against top athletes in that weight division.
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