Interviews

Published on July 17th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford

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Underdog Role Nothing New For Ufc 240’s, Felicia “feenom” Spencer Heading Into Cyborg Fight!

Felicia Spencer is 7-0 headed into the biggest fight of her career. A UFC 240 showdown against 20-2 former champion, Cris Cyborg. This is a pivotal fight in the UFC’s women featherweight division.

They don’t call her “FeeNom” for nothing. UFC featherweight contender, Felicia Spencer won her first world-title in November of 2018, when she defeated, Pam Sorenson at Invicta FC 32. She submitted Sorenson in round four of their five round title fight via rear- naked choke. She made her UFC debut in May of 2019 where she entered the cage as a betting underdog against, Megan Anderson. It took less than 3 ½ minutes for, Spencer to submit Anderson via rear-naked choke. In fact, out of her 7-wins, all 4 of her submission wins have come by way of rear-naked choke. Her success didn’t come without sacrifice. Still a full-time algebra teacher (6th grade) Spencer finds time to rigorously train for her martial arts career, while fulfilling her teaching duties in Florida. On Saturday, July 27th, Spencer will once again enter the cage a huge underdog against one of the most feared female fighters of all-time, Cris Cyborg. Although Cyborg is coming off of her first loss since 2005 (her pro debut), she is still revered as one of the most violent female fighters to ever grace the Octagon. Spencer has no plans on relinquishing her undefeated record and Cyborg will be coming to the Canadians backyard as UFC 240 is held in Edmonton, Canada.

I caught up with, Spencer to discuss the importance of this fight, embracing the underdog role and much more!

UFC 240 on July 27th, you will be facing, Cris Cyborg. How has preparation been?

Felicia Spencer: It’s been great! Kind of business as usual as far as getting ready. I’m training almost every day. I feel great. I’m ready to wrap up this training camp and get out to Edmonton.

You will be fighting at home in Canada, does that add fuel or pressure to what’s already the biggest fight of your career?

Felicia Spencer: I don’t really feel any extra pressure. Every fight that I have I take very serious. I appreciate the crowd and the fans and the position that it puts me in, so it kind of feels familiar. It’s always the biggest fight of your life; whatever one is coming up. It feels familiar like that. I’m excited to get to see a new part of Canada that I have never been too, so it’s just exciting. I guess that would be the right emotion to put into it. It will be very exciting to meet people there and to have the opportunity to be on a big platform.

Co-main event against a superstar like, Cyborg in only your second fight in the UFC. What type of reception are you expecting?

Felicia Spencer: I’m not really sure. I know, Cyborg has a lot of fans all over the world. But being Canadian, I think it will be positive. A warm welcome. I know most people don’t know me as well as, Cyborg. It seems to have been a pretty respectful promotion up to this point at least and I think everyone will be looking forward to the fight. I’m anxious to get it started and see what happens. Whether they are cheering for me or her, it doesn’t really change my game, my attitude or how I fight or anything.

Do you feel like the, Megan Anderson fight relived you of any UFC jitters or do you feel like that will always be there and that it’s not a bad thing?

Felicia Spencer: You know, I’ve probably never felt more comfortable going into a fight than my UFC debut. It’s almost like… all the work that it took to make sure that I was on track to get to the UFC, it was like once I made it there, it’s not like the work is done, but I know I have what it takes to get there. The more comfortable I am, the better I perform, and I took that with me. I really had my mindset right and I was just ready to have fun. It’s probably the least nerve racking. I was just embracing everything that comes with getting into the week of the fight and how things are different but familiar. But more less embracing everything and having fun with it. I’m feeling the same way right now as far as getting ready for, Cyborg. I’m expecting to feel the same going into fight night.

Your debut was a little bit different than this because it wasn’t a co-main event slot. Have the media obligations changed your approach or broken any pre-fight rituals you have?

Felicia Spencer: So far, it’s been pretty normal. I haven’t had to travel or anything for any press. I know during fight week there will be more. I’m not even sure what all it entails when I get down there next week. Up until this week, everything that been pretty much business as usual. Some filming came out to me during the beginning of camp. But the last month has been just me getting ready. With having a fight so close to my debut, there were a lot less medicals to do and just different registering. My first fight, I was figuring out, USADA and all the medicals that took days and days and days to get through. So yes, it’s been a lot less hectic as far as preparation for the UFC stuff. I’m sure fight week it will be a little more hectic. Right now, I’m still working full-time, so at least I won’t be working next week. I have off of work even though it feels like there will be more to do. Social media has kept my phone blowing up all summer and that’s something that I’m working on keeping up with. One thing at a time.

Full-time job still. Wow. You described your UFC debut as the perfect performance and perfect outcome. Everything went according to plan. Are you expecting and anticipating having to perhaps hit some rough patches and go through some turbulence against, Cyborg?

Felicia Spencer: Absolutely! I’m always prepared for a 3-round battle to push through. But I’m also ready for a 1st round finish. That’s what I prepare for, but I’m always ready for anything that comes. I always try to fight as intelligent as I can and try to get out of there as fast as I can. Whatever finish I can get, I take it as soon as I can, but like you said, it’s a tall order with, Cyborg. I’m definitely ready to push her for 3-rounds and take the decision with me.

Most feel like, you don’t bring the fight to, Cyborg. You have to be patient and wait her out. You last fought in May and her last fight was in December. Are you tempted to test her cardio early to see if cage rust can be a factor?

Felicia Spencer: I’m always going to take the fight to people. I’m not going to play into her game necessarily. I have a pressure style. I don’t think cage rust is going to play a big part with her cardio. It hasn’t been too long, and I know she’s been training hard. She’s doing everything that she can to prepare for it, but I’m not at all timid or afraid to implement my gameplan and my style in the cage in front of her. That’s one thing that a lot of people haven’t been able to do, just have the tenacity to stand and push through their gameplan and not fall into hers.

Miesha Tate said that she just didn’t see how you could win. You seem to embrace the underdog role and your undefeated record shows, relish in it as well.

Felicia Spencer: Yeah, I have been the underdog a lot and I think that’s a great place to be when you have the opportunity to shock people. Everyone loves an underdog story. I think it’s nice to be on the underdog end of things just as much as it is to have people believe in you. I’m fine with either position, especially in a situation like this where she’s been around for so long and I’m just getting my name out there a little bit. I’m definitely embracing the underdog story here.

It seems like the stigma around this fight is for you to win, you have to bring this fight to the ground and work your ground game and submissions. I know you’re training every aspect of your game. Are you hoping to remove that stigma or are you rolling with what got you in this position, so it doesn’t bother you?

Felicia Spencer: That’s a good question. It’s definitely a big part of my game and a big part of my success. I’m not going to hide from that, but I also think it plays into my advantage that the striking that I’m capable of haven’t been shown in my previous fights, so that might be taken lightly. I may need to show all parts of my game and I’m definitely feeling on point. I plan on showing a very rounded skillset on the 27th.

Cyborg has been praising how Bellator promote their female fighters, she was called out by Bellator champion, Julia Budd and she’s in the middle of a contract dispute with the UFC. Do you feel like she’s possibly overlooking you or maybe even distracting or do you expect her to be at her best?

Felicia Spencer: I’m expecting the best Cyborg that there has ever been. I know there are other things in the headlines that she is talking about and thinking about, but that comes along with the game. It’s not like you train 24-hours a day and nothing else comes to mind. She’s thinking about her career. I know that she’s not taking any fight lightly. If she did it would be a mistake, but I’m expecting her best.

She is coming off of her first loss in a very long time and she’s coming to your backyard, as if we could imagine a more aggressive version of Cyborg, are you expecting her to come in aggressive because of the circumstances?

Felicia Spencer: I’m not sure. It’s hard to say what version of, Cyborg we will get; the very aggressive one or patient fighter that’s come out in the recent years. I think it just depends on whatever emotion comes out of her that night. I’ll be ready for either. I feel like her defeat won’t have any bearings. She’s a mature fighter. I don’t think it will play into her mind too much. But at the same time, I can imagine tasting defeat and not wanting to feel that again. That could make her make some different decisions during the fight if things aren’t going her way for sure.

Good luck on the 27th and I look forward to the fight. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Felicia Spencer: Thank you for reaching out. It was definitely nice to talk to you and I appreciate all the support. Thanks to everyone reading, The Hype Magazine and I appreciate your time.

 



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