Maureen “Baby Face” Riordon may not be a household name in women’s mixed martial arts just yet, but she plans on changing that in the very near future.
In this day and age in combat sports you often see an athlete focus on one discipline in order to achieve the highest glory attainable in that specific sport.
For Maureen, she is dead set on competing in multiple disciplines, and will have fought in three different sports in a span of a few months by the time the summer is over.
Maureen will make her pro MMA debut on July 25th at RFA 16 against Marion Reneau.
Her pro MMA debut comes only two months after she made her successfuly pro kickboxing debut for GLORY 16: Denver back in May. That night, she throttled Brenda Rodriguez en route to a third-round TKO victory.
Maureen will continue her impressive run no matter the outcome at RFA 16, as she will be making her pro boxing debut at a Nordic Coliseum Boxing event in August.
With such a busy schedule, FanSided was lucky enough to catch up with Maureen for a few minutes to discuss her ambitious attempts at fighting in multiple sports at the same time.
How did you get into combat sports in the first place?
“It was a total accident. I was going through a time in my life where I saw the need to get into shape and lose some weight. I wanted to meet new people and revamp everything basically. One of my friends was training mixed martial arts in Westminster and she suggested I go there to try it out. I honestly was expecting more of a cardio kickboxing type deal, but I really did not know what I was getting myself into. I ended up doing the three week trial and completely fell in love with it. I haven’t done anything else since. I found a knack I guess I didn’t realize I had.”
Why compete in three different sports?
“By the time I box, I will have done my pro debut in all three disciplines within three months. Part of it is my ambition. Because I didn’t grow up saying my dream was to become a fighter for this or that organization, I don’t have any preferences that are kind of holding me back. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a passion of mine later in life. I am just having a really good time experiencing the new found athlete within me. Opportunity was there and I decided to jump on it. You don’t see this done very often. It also gives me the opportunity to compete, when a lot of female fighters express the frustration of being able to find fights and compete.
“I had the opportunity with GLORY and RFA right off the bat, but based off my performance in GLORY, Nordic Coliseum Boxing up in Quebec contacted me and invited me on as a feature in their co-main event. That card will be the first ever all-female, all-pro, boxing event. The momentum is building for me, and I am excited to continue on this ride.”
Were you an athlete prior to finding combat sports?
“Absolutely not. I have always been competitive, but I expressed my competitive side through academics and the performing arts. All through high school I was big in the music scene, leading bands and stuff like that. I just absolutely loved being on stage. After high school, I spent countless hours at my computer writing and at the same time snacking. So, what happened was I just gained weight and wrote a lot of stories. Everything I did was purely academic, so going into combat sports has been an absolute revamping of my life.”
— RFA (@RFAfighting) July 17, 2014
On flipping “the switch” during a fight
“It is difficult for me to describe. Part of what my addiction is to the competitive side of this sport is that calm I get on fight day. The day I wake up for weigh-ins I have a job to do, and I get so focused on that task to make sure I get the results that have been asked of me that nothing else can really get through that barrier. As for the fight itself, I think the penalty of failure, messing up at my job, is so severe that I do not have room to lose focus. I get out there and I hear one voice, and that is my coach. I don’t really hear anyone else. I am zoned in on just my opponent as everything else just slows down. I am just 100 percent focused on completing that task. Whatever it is about it, I can’t seem to find that same degree of focus in anything else I do. “
Why she focuses on herself, and not her opponent
“I don’t tend to focus that much on my opponents. My preference is to focus on me. When RFA came to me and signed me for a multi-fight contract, it was based on the athlete that I am and not based on the athlete that is any of my future opponents. I figure my job is to be that athlete and focus on bettering myself. My coaches job, however, is to make sure they know my opponent and they know if my opponent does anything that could potentially expose a hole in my game. I let them do the research and they coach me accordingly.”
Why fighting is a lot more than just wins and losses for her
“One of the great things about this career for me is that I get to experience nothing but excitement for whatever opportunities comes my way. The reason is because I never had any dead set preference on where I had to end up. My goals in this run far deeper than just the fights alone. What I really want to get into my life is my passion of teaching, guiding, and helping people. The fight career allows me this pretty significant platform to be able to introduce myself to people all over the world. In that way, the more people that know me when I retire from fighting, gives me a greater opportunity to reach out and make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Potentially fighting in the UFC or Invicta
“If I make it to the UFC, that is fantastic. It is the biggest organization out there, but I love Invicta. I think the face of women’s MMA and the reason women have gotten to where we are at, not to take anything away from Ronda Rousey and all she has done, is actually because of Shannon Knapp. Invicta forced people that wanted to disregard WMMA to look. If I was able to get on with Invicta I would be absolutely thrilled. I would be honored to say I fought for Invicta and I participated in that organization because of all they do for Women’s MMA.”
Do you have a preference for MMA, Kickboxing, or Boxing?
“I don’t really have a preference. I genuinely have fun with all of it. I think my mentality changes a little between all of them though. When I watch kickboxing fights I see it as this beautiful art form. Yes it is brutal, yes it is dangerous and there is a ton of risk, but it is beautiful. For MMA, more goes, so there is even a bigger risk. The penalty for failure is a bit higher in MMA. With boxing, it is the good ole’ fashion slugfest. Right now I am just happy to have the opportunity to compete in all three of them. The majority of my fights have been in MMA, and that is probably where my focus is out on the horizon.”