Interview With Amanda BucknerAs one of the top female fighters in the world, Amanda Buckner has competed among the best since her debut in mixed martial arts in 2002. Now focused on joining the Strikeforce roster, she talks with about her future plans.

Having already been ranked as highly as #2 in the world, Buckner is no stranger to competing at the highest levels against the toughest challengers.


She has held titles in both Ring of Fire and SmackGIRL and was seconds away from defeating Tara LaRosa in an incredible 2006 battle. Much like many other talented female fighters of today, however, Buckner has been left without a promotion to compete for after the demise of BodogFIGHT and SmackGIRL.

Recently receiving her Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and motivated by the upcoming Strikeforce women’s 135-pound tournament, Buckner knows that she can be a force in the division and eagerly awaits all Strikeforce challengers.

Please note that this is a repost of our original interview here. Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Amanda. To begin, can you tell us a bit about what first sparked your interest in competing as a mixed martial artist?

Amanda Buckner: Well, I had been an athlete pretty much my whole life, and after graduating from college, I definitely felt the void of training for something as well as competing. After moving to Boulder, Colorado in 1999, I met Jay Jack, who was training and teaching at Easton Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I would stop by the school to hang out with Jay, and BJJ sparked my interest as something that I could compete in.

I had never even heard of MMA before I started training in BJJ. Jay was fighting at the time, and the first time I watched him train for and compete in an MMA fight, I knew right away that MMA was a challenge that I had to take on. You and your husband, Jay, own and manage the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts in Portland, Maine. What is a typical day like for you at the gym?

Amanda: Jay is definitely the heart and soul of the gym. He’s an amazing teacher and coach. I don’t teach the group classes, but I have more involvement in the fighting/competition side. My main role in the gym is all the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into running a business. It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of owning a gym, but it has to be done and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When you are competing, how much of an added level of support is it to have your husband shouting encouragement from your corner?

Amanda: It’s definitely a great comfort to have him in my corner. To be honest, the reason why I’d never fight without him is not because I’m married to him but because he’s such a good coach. I always say that he’s one of the best-kept coaching secrets in the sport.

I have complete trust in what he’s yelling from the corner. I know that he’s 100% honest with me and that he has a tremendous ability to see things that I may not be seeing. I really feel that you need a great coach/corner if you’re going to reach your true potential and I feel lucky to have found that. Newer fans to the sport may not yet be familiar with you, but you are one of the true pioneers of women’s MMA in North America and have been ranked as highly as #2 in the world. What are your thoughts on the current state of the women’s division?

Amanda: Women’s fighting is strange, in the sense that it seems to ride waves. I remember when I first started fighting, it was around the time of the first all-women’s HOOKnSHOOT event and it really seemed like things were about to take off, but then nothing really happened. Then there was a period a few years back, during the whole Bodog time, when things really seemed to be happening.

I know that a bunch of people will disagree with this, but up until very recently, we seemed to be back to nothing happening again. All that I have been hearing about is how amazing Gina Carano has been for women’s fighting, but the reality of it is that, outside of Gina’s career, nothing has really been happening.

A lot of the best female fighters out there have been largely inactive due to a lack of opportunities. With rumors of Strikeforce heading towards putting more work into their 135-pound division, I feel like there is at least hope on the horizon. At 11-5-1, you have already competed against many of the best 125- and 135-pound fighters in the world and have a number of huge victories on your résumé. Which fight would you say has been your toughest thus far?

Amanda: I’d say that my last fight, against Takayo Hashi, was the toughest. It was far from the toughest physically, but it was emotionally tough. I can handle losing a hard-fought battle, but I was completely absent mentally during that fight and it has remained a really irritating thing for me.

That was the fight where I learned that, even though it’s tempting, when you have some really rough stuff going on in your life, taking a fight doesn’t make it any easier. It just makes you suck during your fight. Among your most impressive victories are wins over Shayna Baszler (twice), Julie Kedzie and Hitomi Akano, and you are one of only two women to have ever submitted Shayna (and the only to have defeated her with an actual submission hold). Which of these accomplishments are you most proud of and which was the most memorable?

Amanda: For me, all of the fights are such memorable experiences because they are all so different and each one is a great teacher in its own way. My first fight with Shayna was a big one for me because I got over some competition problems that had plagued me in the beginning of my career. Plus, Shayna and I don’t seem to be able to get into a ring together without putting on a pretty damn good fight.

The whole experience of fighting Hitomi was a great one. I felt so great warming up for that fight and executed a very specific game plan for her that kept me from getting thrown on my head. The fight with Julie was great because I felt horrible warming up for that one, but I was still able to go out and perform pretty well. So, there is a very long non-answer to your question.  🙂