Rachel Wray‘s unlikely transition from NFL eye-candy to aspiring cage-fighter started with a fateful trip to a boxing gym. As she explained to KCMMA:
“I have been a cheerleader or dancer my whole life and I moved [to Kansas City] from Arkansas to cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs. I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the girls for an alternative workout. I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day, I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it.
I was absolutely horrible. This drove me to want it even more. I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting. I trained harder and took more private lessons. In the same shopping center was [Jason High and LC Davis's gym] HDMMA and I wandered in there to see what was going on. Everyone was so nice and just not what I expected from a MMA gym. So, I started training there too. One thing led to another, and now I feel comfortable enough to compete in the cage…I hope to fight 4-5 times over the next year.”
Though Rachel’s last scheduled match didn’t take place due to her opponent not showing up — gotta love regional MMA! — she won her amateur debut by second-round TKO. (You can watch it here and here.) Rachel’s next fight is slated for January 25th at Harrah’s Casino in Kansas City, against an opponent to be named later.
Get to know Rachel better by checking out her photo gallery above, and read on for our short-’n’-sweet interview with the lady herself…
CAGEPOTATO.COM: When do you plan on going pro? Is your goal to make it into the UFC one day?
RACHEL WRAY: At this time I’m not sure where fighting will take me. Right now I’m just focusing on getting some amateur experience, but if things keep going well for me then I may be able to go pro someday. It would be cool to fight for the UFC, obviously, but I wouldn’t say that’s my goal in life. I’ve been a dancer and cheerleader my entire life, and I’ve only been fighting for ten months. Right now all I can think about is winning my next fight.
What’s the most satisfying move to land in a fight?
I have never landed a submission in an actual fight, but that is definitely the most satisfying move to land at practice. I specialize more in boxing, so when I armbar or choke somebody it feels really good. I don’t go for many takedowns, but those are even better.
What do you like to do when you’re not fighting or training?
Fighting and training are pretty much my entire life. That’s what I do for fun, I enjoy it so much. Other than that I love spending time with my family. I’m a super girly-girl, so I love shopping with my mom, going to the spa, getting my nails done, and going out with the girls. I also enjoy reading books and playing the piano.
What’s the most important lesson you learned from Jason High?
Jason High is an amazing coach, he always leads by example. He has done a great job of showing me how to successfully train and live the right lifestyle of a fighter. From all the techniques of MMA to strength and conditioning, lifting weights, running, and the fighter diet, he truly has taught me everything I need to know to succeed in this sport. I moved back home to Arkansas recently, but after training with Jason, I feel confident that I can make it down here as a fighter on my own.
Rousey vs. Carmouche at UFC 157 — how does it end?
First-round armbar, no doubt. I bet Ronda gets it within the first two minutes.