Earlier this year, I was able to catch up with Elizabeth (Lisa) Villegas at her Ammy MMA debut for the Premiere Combat League in San Antonio @ Cowboys Dance Hall. Lets get right to it!
spida: How long have you been involved in Martial Arts?
Elizabeth: My brother Robert has been doing this since like forever. Can’t rember when exactly but since we were kids. I used to help him practice by holding his mitts but I didn’t get into it till a few years ago.
spida: So you came back to train with him?
Elizabeth: Yes. I wanted to start working out and lose weight so I came to him. I really liked it, not the getting hit part but the hitting people part. (laughter)
spida: With the recent ZUFFA buy out of STRIKEFORCE, do you think they will they keep the women’s MMA division going? What are your thoughts?
Elizabeth: Women train just as hard as the men. They should keep it going and even start one in the UFC. I think people in general will pay to watch women compete in MMA or any combat sport in general.
spida: You had your Ammy MMA debut here in San Antonio @ Cowboys Dance Hall, were you prepared physically and mentally going into the fight?
Elizabeth: Oh yes! I trained hard for months. Everyday for hrs. I was ready physically but it didnt register till days closer to the fight. My kids were worried, I was thinking the worst and when I saw my opponent, I was thinking , wow, I’m really doing this.
spida: Your opponent was a muay thai champion, how do you feel knowing that you were able to stand up with someone that actually held a title?
Elizabeth: I felt great! I mean, I need a lot of work but I felt really good. I can fight on the ground but I’m definetly a stand up fighter.
spida: How is training with your brother? I met him years back @ Battle at the Beach. I think it was “04” but even then he looked great and comfortable fighting.
Elizabeth: My brother is a great coach – he’s hardcore! He doesnt like weakness. He’ll kick me – he’ll punch me. He doesnt take it easy on me.
spida: Thats cool, not the him punching you part (laughter) but obviously he doesnt take it easy on you because your his sister.
Elizabeth: Oh no, when I’m in the gym, I’m his student. He doesn’t take it easy on me at all. If I’m crying he’ll tell me, “Don’t be crying! Are you going to cry in the Cage, “THERE’S NO CRYING HERE!”
spida: I take it thats where the mental toughness comes in. What I mean is, you’re in a fight and your opponent wont be taking it easy on you. You have 2 boys, correct? How old are they and are they involved in sports or martial arts?
Elizabeth: I do and they’re 9 and the oldest is 15. The youngest is enrolled at my brothers school. My oldest is more into school sports like track and football but does jiu-jitsu at my brothers too.
spida: Say your oldest decides he wants to fight in MMA, what’s your stance on that?
Elizabeth: Ahh..I don’t think I would like that. I mean we’ve talked about it but I wouldn’t want him to.
spida: I probably understand why you wouldn’t but just to be sure, why wouldn’t you want him to fight in MMA when you’re doing it yourself?
Elizabeth: Because, he’s my baby! I wouldnt want him to get punched or hurt!
spida: What’s next for you? Are you looking to fight again anytime soon?
Elizabeth: I had something set up but they couldnt find me an opponent at my weigh class so I’m looking to drop to 170 and make sure I can get an opponent. Hopefully within the next few months.
spida: So what’s your training regimen like right now? Are you still training to fight or taking it easy?
Elizabeth: I train right after work. I head to my brothers gym and do the womens kickboxing class, the mens muay-thai and then jiu-jitsu. After that we hit the gym and I’m on the treadmill and elliptical. We do different things everyday such as weights, machines, just mix it up! It’s only 3-4hrs a day.
spida: Only? Wow! That’s enough for me for a week. (laughter) What are you looking to do? Keep fighting Ammy or possibly Pro?
Elizabeth: Yes, thats the plan. Not sure how many Ammy fights I need to turn Pro but thats the plan. I mean I’m up there in age so I dont feel like I have that much time left.
spida: Okay I wont even go there! (laughter by both) With your busy schedule, what is your daily routine like?
Elizabeth: It’s hard but I manage! My boys stay with there dad while I train. Sunday is all about family. We have dinner, go to the movies and just spend time together but like I said, I dont want to be doing this for 10yrs.
spida: Do your bosses know that you’re training and fighting?
Elizabeth: Yes they know a bout me fighting. They’re very supportive and know I have a set schedule. They support me and help me with my hrs at work. They were there at my fight! When I went back to work everybody was excited and glad with my win.
spida: We have a mutual friend Elektra. How much has she helped you? Is she your cheerleader?
Elizabeth: (laughter by both) Yes, oh my, she is a little lady but she is hard on me. She’s my number one fan! She’s always pumps me up at the gym and even for my fight.
spida: I am a huge supporter of women MMA. Thank you Lisa for taking time away from your busy schedule for this. Any last words or comments?
Elizabeth: I’d like to thank my brother and coach Robert Villegas. My friends and everybody at my great team mates and everyone at the school. Especially Elektra! She has been their not just in the gym but as a really great friend. My parents who don’t support this but I would like to definetly thank them. You guys too, thank you.