Q&A With Jayde Sheeley
Alliance MMA sat down with Jayde Sheeley ahead of her upcoming fight at Iron Tiger Fight Series 71.
Q: How is your training camp going?
A: “Everything is going good. I’m basically practicing twice a day right now. I’m letting up a bit because we’re getting closer to fight night.”
Q: How do you describe your fighting style and background?
A: “I started out doing Kung Fu when I was seven, and with that it was a lot more about the form and helping with my balance. Then I started MMA when I was 14. I did kickboxing first because a lot of the kicks I already knew from Kung Fu. I’ve always been more of a standup fighter. I didn’t really start doing jujitsu consistently until I started fighting. I’ve always implemented the strategy that the fight won’t go to the ground if I don’t let it.”
Q: What was it like having a fighter as a father?
A: “When I was little I guess I didn’t realize what he did and how much he did. I knew he fought, all over the world because he would go to Korea or something and bring me back a gift. He’s not the type of guy to go around talking about all of his accomplishments, so I really didn’t figure it all out until I started asking family members and they would tell me how good is was.
He didn’t really want me to get into this sport either. It wasn’t until my last fight at age 21 where he finally said I earned my place in the gym, and that he would start coaching me seriously. Before that he always told me I had to put my time in and learn the hard way to see if you really want to do something with this sport.”
Q: Obviously, you grew up around the sport…do you feel as though you are meant to do this, or is it truly your passion?
A: “I always tell people that if I didn’t grow up around it, I’d probably think this sport is pretty dumb. I mean, I’m getting punched in the face and breaking bones. I don’t think I would be in the gym all of the time if I wasn’t raised around fighting. However, with the way my dad has coached me, it’s shown me that I do really do have a passion for it. He’s not someone pushing me to do it all of the time, and nothing is forced on me.”
Q: What are your ultimate goals as a fighter?
A: “My ultimate goal is the UFC, but that has been hard because I have a big family, and with my parents being split up, one side doesn’t want me to be doing this. They encourage me to go get a real job, but I don’t want to spend my life working in a factory, or at some desk job, and then regret when I’m 60 years-old and I look back. So, that’s my goal. First I have to go pro though.”
Q: Can you explain the lengthy time off from MMA?
A: “When I took my last fight I was a junior in college and it was really hard to balance school, training, I had a job, and I was cutting weight. I also had the flu for that fight. My opponent Chelsea, who I train with now, had been putting in two-a-days for like six straight months. After that fight I realized I wasn’t going to be where I wanted to be as a fighter while I was in college. It got to the point where I wasn’t going to class because I was so worried about training, and then I realized I better get my degree first, and then I can get back in the cage.”
Q: You’ve been to decision all three fights, how do you plan on avoiding the judges scorecards this time?
A: “Basically with my three fights before I was a totally different fighter than I am now. I watch the film of my first fight now, and I can’t believe some of the stuff that I did. Like I mentioned with my dads training, he wasn’t pushing me to do the right things. I had to learn what was right and what was wrong the hard way. I wasn’t getting walked through step-by-step because when you’re in the cage there isn’t anyone in there with you and you have to adapt. I’ve grown a lot since then and now I want that finish. I want to keep things standing, and if we go to the ground I know now not to do things like give up my back, or pull guard like I did in my first couple fights. Those were all just learning experiences.”
Q: How do you feel like you match up with Lizzy?
A: “I definitely don’t think she’s a bad opponent by any means. I don’t really know a whole lot about her though. I think it’s sort of the same thing with me in a sense that if I watch her film from her old fights, I’m sure that’s not going to be the same girl I fight in a couple weeks because she hasn’t fought in two years either. My team and I, we don’t like to come in with a game plan. I’m just going to get in there and do what I want to do which is to strike and make her follow my lead.”
Q: What is your life like outside of fighting?
A: “Right now my life pretty much revolves around fighting (laughs). But before I graduated, I was a supervisor at a residential center for juveniles, and that was a pretty crazy place. I was basically getting assaulted at my day job, and then getting beat up at the gym afterwards. I ended up quitting that job and now I bartend. It allows me to get in the practices that I need to get ready for the fight so that’s kinda nice. I think after this fight I’ll start looking for something else in the criminal justice field because that’s what I got my degree in and that’s what I enjoy.”
Q: Does his philosophy change between training his daughter and another fighter?
“His philosophy is you’ve got to put in the time. Just because I’m his daughter, that doesn’t mean I’m getting all of this special treatment or anything. I probably had it harder than some other fighters actually (laughs). But yeah, he’s taught me to learn my mistakes on my own, and I think that’s really helped me because now I’m not constantly asking him ‘oh what do I do?’ The only response I’ve ever gotten from that is ‘well, figure it out.’