Modafferi considered retirement before TUF 26 stint
Roxanne Modafferi is one of the most experienced fighters in women’s mixed martial arts. In 2013, she fought her way onto The Ultimate Fighter season 18. Seeded last, she was eliminated by Jessica Rakoczy, but the series drew her back to the USA from Japan, which eventually led to John ‘Big’ Wood‘s Syndicate MMA where she has undergone a tremendous career turnaround. Pre Wood she went 0-6 and has gone 8-4 since.
‘The Happy Warrior’ did a rare second run on TUF, and this time she was seeded first. That run ended with a fight for the inaugural UFC flyweight, where he lost a decision. Modafferi appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour and said prior to the latest RUF run, she had been mulling over retirement.
“I didn’t necessarily want to experience [TUF] all over again. I wanted to get back to the UFC. I kind of tried to feel out, ‘Hey, what if I just get signed instead?’ But there was no guarantee of that and I wanted a chance to get the title. So those things made me do it again, out of necessity.”
“At this point, I mean, I am 35 — I don’t feel 35 — but at this point I do want to start thinking about money and how I’m going to get by and not just doing this for fun anymore. So I really was thinking strongly about my career. I really needed to get into the UFC. Love of the sport doesn’t pay the bills, right?”
“When I realized that I was fighting for the title, it felt weird like I didn’t really feel anything new, I just — maybe also I didn’t have that buildup, it was probably better that I didn’t have that huge buildup leading up to it. I didn’t have the chance to be anxious or nervous about it.
“I’ve heard other fighters talk about how their training camps get interrupted by having to do interviews and fly places and all that stuff. I didn’t have that, luckily. I just was like, ‘Okay. It’s tomorrow. Have fun!’ So okay, let’s just fight. I could tell myself it was just another fight. It didn’t have that huge buildup, for better or for worse.”
“I love it. … I know that I have more potential to grow and get better. I still have people that I want to face. I still want to test myself in competition. I still have this fire burning inside me. Like, I can’t wait to get in the gym and train, I can’t wait to try my techniques, the excitement has not dimmed at all.
“I’m more excited, if that’s possible for me to be more excited about this. I want a black belt, I want to be the champion now, I want to get my first KO, I have goals. I just want to keep going and keep doing it.”
In addition to love, Modafferi now has some resources. She was paid $100,000 for the title shot, win or lose. And she earned a performance bonus of $50,000. And the title shot garnered another $30,000 in Reebok money. After 14 years, Modafferi is finally being paid for all the love.