Women’s Muay Thai fighter Tiffany Van Soest will be just five days short of her 24thbirthday when she faces Natalie Yipp at Lion Fights 9 on March 15th in Las Vegas. The Blackhouse/Team Nogueira fighter is known as “The Time Bomb” and she displayed her knockout power in her last fight against Alexis Rufus.
Van Soest landed a head kick and then finished her opponent off with a right hand, improving her record to 3-0-1. She is quickly becoming one of the faces of Women’s Muay Thai and is definitely a great representative for the sport. She may be in the middle of preparation for her next bout, but that doesn’t mean she’s not as excited about tomorrow night’s historic women’s MMA fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche which will mark the first time the UFC has promoted a female fight.
“I think it’s great, it’s such a huge opportunity for women,” Van Soest told BJPenn.Com. “It’s well deserved and the timing couldn’t be better and I’m really excited for it. I’ve sparred with Ronda before and Liz was one of my first MMA training partners when I decided I wanted to start learning mixed martial arts. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how she does against Ronda. I think if anyone can beat Ronda, Liz can.”
The UFC seems committed to Women’s MMA as evidenced by the signing of Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis and Sara McMann. The opportunities will continue to grow, especially if the Rousey-Carmouche fight does well. With that being said it only seems natural to ask Van Soest when she sees herself competing in MMA as opposed to Muay Thai.
“Everyone asks me in pretty much every interview, when am I going to do MMA,” admitted the 24-year-old Van Soest. “It’s not really a matter of if, but more of a when. Right now I’m getting a lot of opportunities with Muay Thai and I feel like I’m just starting to grow as a Muay Thai fighter. I’m gaining a lot of momentum so why stop that and have to learn something else? I want to keep riding the wave. When I accomplish all of my goals in Muay Thai then maybe I’ll make the move to MMA. I still train a little bit of wrestling and jiu-jitsu, I use is it as cross training, but to also learn it for when the time for me to move does come.”
One of the biggest reasons Women’s MMA is doing so well is because of Invicta FC. It’s hard to imagine it was less than a year ago when they made their debut in Kansas City. They have held three more highly successful shows since and are preparing for Invicta FC 5, an event that will feature two title bouts and 15 fights overall.
“I train with a lot of girls who have fought or who are fighting for Invicta,” offered Van Soest. “Whenever they fight I like to watch it, I think the production of their show is great and from what the girls have told me they are treated awesomely. They have everything they need, it’s everything a fighter can dream for. There’s some promoters who will promise you one thing and do another and their shows are really unorganized. From what I’ve heard about Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin they are on top of things and treat the fighters extremely well.”
There are still a lot of uneducated fans and media members who believe there aren’t enough female fighters to fill anything other than the bantamweight division. All one has to do is look a little closer and they will see there is a lot of talent out there in many different weight classes.
“More and more girls are getting into MMA and developing their skills,” The Timebomb explained. “The talent pool in any weight class is getting deeper. People were complaining that there were only the 135er’s and the 145er’s, but look at the 125lber’s. The 115lb. division is absolutely stacked, even the little girls in the 105lb. division, they are like little spider monkeys. There are so many good ones, especially overseas in Japan. Making good match-ups in all of women’s MMA isn’t going to be a problem anymore.”
A few weeks back we had Invicta FC Strawweight title contender Bec Hyatt on BJPenn.Com Radio. She made a very good point about the need to have a happy medium when it came to women’s mixed martial artists. She believes they have to be talented before anything else, but they also need to look like a woman. That seems to be the consensus amongst fans, promoters and fellow fighters. Many of those same people also believe the fighters need to have a good personality as well.
“Nobody wants to watch a robot fight, the fans want someone they can identify with,” admitted Van Soest. “They want someone they can either love or hate. You can’t just be a “fighter”, you have to show that you’re a person as well. Being a woman and it’s kind of sad to say, but you have to do more just to get that attention. My whole thing is people say that I’m so pretty and they ask if I get mad about that. I tell them they can come for my looks, but once they see me compete they become a fan for the way that I fight. Come for my looks, but stay for my skill!”