While it’s not uncommon for female MMA fighters to have extended periods of time off due to a lack of fight opportunities, Michelle “Thundercat” Ould’s year away came for a much different reason.
“I was basically off because of injuries,” she said. “I fractured my foot in three spots in my last fight. As soon as that healed up, I tore a tendon and ligament in my hand.
“That was like six months altogether. I had another surgery and while waiting that to heal, I had an incision which ruptured and was infected. So it’s just been back-to-back injuries.”
Ould admitted to MMAWeekly.com that while she had moments of doubt when it came returning to the sport, she refused to let herself give up.
“There’s time – like fleeting moments – where maybe you think why are you putting your body through this stuff, but the only time I ever doubt it is when I’m having a rough day or something,” said Ould.
“I try not to get too emotional when fights don’t happen, because that’s just the nature of the game when it comes to women’s MMA. There’s always something going on that can keep girls from getting match-ups, but I just try to look on the positive side of it.”
After a year off, Ould is set to return to action this Friday night at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, Calif., for Mez Sports’ Pandemonium V show where she’ll be taking on Christina Marks.
“I know she’s scrappy and she likes to fight,” said Ould of Marks. “She’s taller than me, but Tonya (Evinger, Ould’s teammate) is taller than me and longer, so we’ve gone through the game plan on executing off of Tonya’s reach and everything.
“I’m pretty confident about the entire match-up.”
With promotions like Strikeforce and Bellator not fully committing to the 125-pound weight class, Ould knows she has to stay the course and not get despondent in waiting for an opportunity to step up to bigger shows.
“If Bellator brings us on, great, but they’ve been going through that whole rumor for a year now,” said Ould. “It’s been a lot of back and forth, and a lot of us get our hopes up only to get let back down again; so I’m trying not to do that anymore.
“I’ll take it day by day and hopefully somebody will finally make a home for one of the weight classes in women’s MMA then can put on more match-ups than 145-pounds can. I mean, when’s the last time Cyborg (Cris Santos) fought?”
While match-ups with the likes of Tara LaRosa and Cat Zingano would be huge opportunities for Ould, it’s a rematch of her last bout that she’d like to really have.
“Zoila (Gurgel) is the one I broke my foot on last year, so I’d love to get a rematch with her at 125,” said Ould. “I would definitely love to finish what I started last year. She got off lucky that I broke my foot on her leg. “
After a year away from the sport, Ould is amped to return to the cage and begin to make a name for herself in women’s MMA.
“I just want to thank my sponsors: Team Quest, Dynamic Fitness, Phenom Management, and Ink’d Out,” she concluded. “Of course, thanks to Tonya. I have a great support system with her and the guys at Team Quest.
“I’m pretty excited and I’m ready to get back work at the Riverside Convention Center on Friday night.”