Training with UFC’s Cat Zingano, Shannon Culpepper Ready for Anything at Friday’s RFA 7

March 20, 2013
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Shannon Culpepper-Ring of FireColorado amateur women’s bantamweight Shannon Culpepper’s route to this Friday’s Resurrection Fighting Alliance 7 has been tumultuous to say the least.

Over the course of her three years in fighting, Culpepper has been scheduled for numerous fights, only to see more cancellations than actual action.

“I’ve had a lot of fighters backed out of fights,” said Culpepper. “Last year alone I lost nine or 10 fights and only got to fight once. It’s been slow getting it going, but I feel like we’re picking up now and getting a lot of opportunities thrown at me.”

Not surprisingly, Culpepper was scheduled to fight this past February, but two days out from her fight, her opponent dropped out. Thankfully the RFA being a larger promotion, it’s less likely that Friday’s fight against Gina Begley in Denver will go the route of previous cancellations.

“I am so excited to be on this type of fight card that RFA and Ring of Fire have put together,” she said. “It’s a bigger show so I don’t see there being any reason my opponent would drop out of this fight because it is a big opportunity for her as well.”

Culpepper admitted to MMAWeekly.com that she knows little about Begley, so in preparation for this fight she’s focused more on herself and what she needs to accomplish to get the win.

“I don’t know much about her outside of her record and that she trains with (Invicta FC fighter) Jessamyn Duke,” said Culpepper. “We’ve just been focusing on my improving my stand-up, my ground and really hammering away at my wrestling.

“I think she’s a little bit taller than I am, but I feel I’m going to be stronger than she is and a lot stronger than any girl she’s faced, so I don’t really care where the fight goes.”

Culpepper admitted that while she’s not 100-percent in love with wrestling, she’s been training with one of Colorado’s elite female fighters to improve in that area.

“(The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 coach) Leister Bowling called me and asked if we could assist Cat Zingano with her fight camp and it’s been amazing and a huge opportunity for me,” Culpepper said. “I’ve been growing with this opportunity and it’s nothing I could pass up.

“She’s phenomenal and I’m learning a lot from her. To work with someone like that is really awesome.”

With a lot of buzz surrounding her, Culpepper’s next move after the RFA could be her biggest, as she decides whether to turn pro or remain an amateur for a bit longer.

“If the opportunity comes up to turn pro, it has to be right,” she said. “If it happens to be Invicta or something like that, it would be great.

“The only reason I would take another amateur fight or two is because I’m trying to move down to 125 pounds, so maybe a fight or two to test how I am at that weight and the cut. It all depends on what comes up, but right now I’m not decided on either or.”

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