Combat Vision MMA are pleased to reveal a Q&A interview with Coolmine Martial Arts fighter Aoife “Efi” Murphy as she prepares to make her Cage Warriors debut in June against Bethany “The Terminatrix” Thomas.
Combat Vision MMA spoke to Aoife about training with Coolmine, returning from an injury lay-off and her upcoming promotional debut with Cage Warriors.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to Combat Vision MMA, Aoife. Could you tell our readers about your background in kickboxing. As you are a Irish kickboxing champion and how you transitioned into MMA?
“I got my first taste of combat sports through Kickboxing. I loved the type of training, the challenges of fighting. But, the competition was scarce for girls at that stage, particularly at my weight class. There were no challengers there for me after a short time. When I started watching MMA and seeing people I knew competing in it, I wanted to get involved in that too. It struck me as the more dynamic sport and much more challenging than kickboxing. I knew, I could apply myself to more than one discipline and I wanted to see how far I could take that”
You fight out of C-Mac Mulhuddart Martial Arts Club. Could you tell our readers about the coaches and any fighters you train with?
“C-MAC is one of the smaller clubs in Dublin. But, our fight team punches above it’s weight in titles, our records and competition. The club has a very driven, competitive environment. Much of the fight team are champions in various disciplines, so that keeps us all on our toes. We have a particularly strong girls team as well. There are times, when there are as many women on the mats as men, which is very rare in combat sports. Myself, Meagan and Debbie are all champions, in one thing or another and the younger girls coming up behind us are catching up fast. I’m excited to see all of them make their mark”
How important is training with this camp been to your developing amateur career?
“C-MAC is like home from home. I knew I wanted to be part of this sport. But, it took me a long time to find the right place for me when I moved on from kickboxing. On top of learning the ropes, technically, I needed somewhere that would provide the competitive opportunities I needed. Women’s MMA hadn’t the momentum then that it has now, so while some girls were training and were made welcome in most clubs, few were competing at the higher levels or sparring seriously”
“When I came to C-MAC, Deano had already invited me down. He’s always put great effort into his women’s team and I think he knew he could add to me and make me better as part of that team, so I took the chance on that basis and the fit was great. He’s worked hard to source fights for me, brought me down to a more competitive weight class and showed me that there was a place for me in MMA and in C-MAC”
You are going back into the fight game after a year because of an injury lay off. Could you describe the injury and also the mental focus you had to have being on the road to recovery?
“I picked up a knee injury, which kept me out for almost a year. It required surgery and a long rehab period”
“I basically just worked on bettering myself. I had to accept my training routine would be totally different and my body wouldn’t be able to do what I was used to do. So I focused on healing and making it strong again. I maintained my fitness as best as I could and dedicated myself to my physio programs in the same way, I would normally dedicate to my club training. I stayed around the club, did my rehab there, watched and listened to everything being taught so I wasn’t missing out on the lessons, even if I couldn’t manage the practice”
“I had to appreciate that I was rebuilding from major damage and that it was a different kind of challenge which needed a different approach. I had to be good to my body, when I was used to pushing it through very hard training and asking so much of it because of my sport. The mentality was probably the hardest part. It took patience, positivity and willpower to keep pushing on and remember what my goals were. The support of my coaches, boyfriend and family made a huge difference. But, a huge part of what got me back in, was telling myself that I wasn’t going to let this injury put me away early. I had way more to give and I wanted to show it”
Your last win was back in June 2016 against Charlotte Park by way of knockout at Headhunters FC. What did you think of your performance on the night and was there anything you felt needed to be worked on in your next training camp?
“My last fight was a strong performance. It’s interesting fighting away from home against a local. Because, it’s often you against the whole room. But, the fight was so well received by the crowd and the promotion so we’re proud of that one, I felt we won them over”
“There are always things to tweak after a fight and particularly as an amateur. But on the whole we stuck to the gameplan and were pleased with that fight. We took a lot of confidence in my knockout ability from it, she was a durable girl, but I got another head kick finish. Going back to the gym, we looked at how to get things done quicker next time and where I might have capitalised earlier in the fight”
Your next confirmed fight is against Bethany “The Terminatrix” Thomas on June 17th at Cage Warriors: The Academy North West. Do you consider this fight to be your road to redemption and how will you approach the fight?
“I don’t really think of it as redemption – I’ve been recovering, big difference. I am dying to get back in though. It’s the only way to end that chapter of being injured, to get in and have that first fight”
“This is a fight I’ve been asking Bethany for. I was injured as she was struggling for opponents. I told her to look for me when I’m back training, so I was delighted when she answered our call for an opponent this time. WMMA needs competitors, so I’m here to make my mark in the lightweights again and go from there. Whatever challenges come next”
Lastly, what does 2017 have in store for Aoife Murphy?
“For 2017, I am hoping to keep busy and make up for lost time. I’m looking forward to making my Cage Warriors debut and hoping to have a couple of outings with them after this fight”
“I have been waiting on the sidelines all this time. I just want to put everything into making an impact for the rest of this year and build on that for an even bigger 2018”