After a fairly extensive amateur career, women’s 125-pound prospect Rachael “The Panther” Cummins split her two pro fights against Norma Rueda Center and Maia Kahaunaele this year under circumstances that couldn’t have been more different.
“My first pro fight (against Center), I had a horrible weight cut and I had four different opponent changes and didn’t have an opponent until three days before the fight,” said Cummins. “I remember my performance was not good because my weight cut was so bad. I feel like I could have won that fight if I had prepared the right way.
“My second fight (against Kahaunaele) went perfect. I had a really great training camp and I felt so comfortable and everything went smoothly.”
By turning pro this year, Cummins joins a list of highly talented young up-and-coming female fighters who have been making waves in such promotions as the CFA and XFC.
“(CFA champion) Ashlee Evans-Smith is actually an old training partner and I’m so happy for her, and it feels good to know I trained with her for a whole year,” said Cummins. “I fought (XFC title contender) Cortney Casey twice and I’d have to say she’s one of the top 125-pound girls out there right now.
“Just being around everyone, it’s nice to kind of get an idea where you’re at when you’ve trained with and fought some of those people.”
While she’s happy to be a part of a bigger whole making waves, in one area Cummins does stand out amongst many fighters is the attention she gets for her modeling and look. This type of attention doesn’t deter from her aspirations as an athlete, she instead chooses to use it in a positive light.
“I actually really like it because people will underestimate me,” she said. “I like to prove people wrong and show people that looks are deceiving.
“I have a lot of confidence in my athletic ability and if I work hard enough and I really focus, I really feel like I can be strong in all areas of MMA. So I like when people say that because then I can prove them wrong.”
Cummins (1-1) will have a chance to showcase her athleticism again when she makes her BAMMA USA debut at Badbeat 11 on Friday, Oct. 25, in Commerce, Calif., against veteran Michelle “Diablita” Gutierrez (3-4).
“I think overall I’m a better athlete than Michelle is and am a lot more dangerous than she is all around,” said Cummins. “I just feel that my coaches have prepared me so well for this fight that I feel very confident going into it.
“This is the hardest I’ve trained for any fight and I feel great. Standing or on the ground, I’m going to be the stronger fighter no matter what.”
(Photo courtesy of Ray Kasprowicz/Tuff-N-Uff)