Smashley embraces underdog role before Invicta 24 Frey fight
Via our friends at MMA Sucka!
“All of the pressure is on Jinh Yu Frey,” Ashley Cummins said ahead of one of the biggest mixed martial arts bouts of her life.
The 29-year-old St. Louis police officer will battle Frey in the co-main event slot of Invicta FC 24 on July 15. A win isn’t the only thing at stake, as Cummins told MMASucka.com that Invicta President Shannon Knapp said that the card’s featured atomweight bout will serve as a title-eliminator; the victor will get a title shot at the division’s champion, Ayaka Hamasaki. So, why is all the pressure on Frey?
“[Frey’s] the number-two fighter in the world at 105 lbs and fans want to see her fight Ayaka in the rematch,” Cummins said, referencing Frey’s 2016 title fight with Hamasaki, which resulted in a second-round TKO win for Hamasaki. “People are expecting her to fight for the title again. I’m just going in there to have fun.”
“I love being the underdog. I know I’m a huge underdog for this fight just like I was my last fight.”
Cummins said that the fight announcement received a lot of backlash from fans across social media who wanted to see Frey rematch Hamasaki straight away, which resulted in Cummins being extremely complimentary of Frey, as well as the exciting fight they seem destined to put on.
“Frey accepted the fight because she’s a competitor,” Cummins said. “I have a lot of respect for Frey. She’s one of the best in the world. She’s a well-rounded fighter, but I honestly think no one can beat me at 105.”
In actuality, it will be just Cummins’ second professional fight at atomweight. For the majority of her career, she plied her trade at the strawweight division, 10 lbs up from where she is now. Once “Smashley” shed down to atomweight, she noticed a massive difference in her in-cage performance.
“I felt amazing [against Brown],” she said. “It’s crazy how dropping a weight class, how different you feel. I feel stronger and faster. It’s nice fighting people my size. Everyone I fought at 115 was way bigger than me. At 105, no one’s going to be bullying me around the cage, or be stronger or faster than me.”
In addition to the more natural weight class, motivational forces have been a key factor in Cummins’ career resurgence.
The March 25 bout against Brown saw Cummins emotionally reveal that she dedicated her performance to fallen police officer, Blake Snyder, who was not only a co-worker, but a friend. Cummins said she not only sought to prove to herself what she was capable of, but to win so that she could honor Snyder in her post-fight speech.
“The loser of the fight doesn’t get a chance to be interviewed,” she said.
Invicta FC 24: Dudieva vs. Borella streams live on UFC Fight Pass on Saturday, July 15 at 8:00 PM ET.
Milana Dudieva vs. Mara Romero Borella
Jinh Yu vs. Ashley Cummins
Pam Sorenson vs. Helena Kolesnyk
Karina Rodriguez vs. Bárbara Acioly
Miranda Maverick vs. Gabby Romero
Sunna Davíðsdóttir vs. Kelly D’Angelo
Felicia Spencer vs. Amy Coleman
Mallory Martin vs. Tiffany Masters
Author Michael DeSantis is the sports editor of the Stony Brook Press, and writes about MMA for MMASucka!
Follow Michael DeSantis on Twitter.