The time has almost come.
Imagine listening to Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight” as the melody starts to build up, and as some would say “the quiet before the storm.”
25-year-old amateur MMA fighter Marina Shafir is riding that melody, with many MMA fans waiting for her to turn pro.
Shafir — training partner and roommate of UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey — is being careful before making pro debut.
“My coaches don’t want to rush me into it, and I don’t want to rush into it myself,” she says. “There’s a lot of hype behind my career, and that’s a good thing, I don’t want to be one of those fighters to not live up to the hype.”
Shafir, who was born in the Eastern European country of Moldova, came to the United States when she was five and grew up in upstate New York. She went to an upscale high school where she says, “I couldn’t relate to people in high school, I didn’t come from money and my parents were immigrants…I slept through high school, and I can count on one hand how many friends I had.”
While competing in judo tournaments, Shafir met Rousey when she was 12-years-old; and they became good friends by the end of high school, being able to relate to each other through martial arts and their life experiences.
After high school, Shafir stayed on the east coast, still training, but said there were little opportunities for her to grow, “No girls wanted to fight me in New York. If I stayed in New York, I’d just be a waste of talent.”
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Rousey finally persuaded Shafir to make the transition to Southern California a year ago, where she joined the team with Edmond Tarverdyan as head trainer and she said, “I’m getting the best possible training, and I’ve only been out in LA for a year.”
Her next fight is scheduled February 9th against Autumn Richardson at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles under the U of MMA promotion, and Shafir says the amateur fights are prepping her for the future:
“All these fights are just tests for me. We’ll see how February 9th goes for me. I just want to be ready, that’s all. I’m just trying to stay as grounded as possible…”
Stay tuned for more on Marina Shafir next week, where she talks about being a coach on TUF 18, her favorite thing to do, worst food she’s eaten, and her relationship with Ronda Rousey after the fame.
David Kano is lead writer for MMA Show News and co-host of The Hollywood MMA Show. You can follow him on Twitter @TheDKano.
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