Having been one of female MMA’s stalwarts since her debut nearly 10 years ago, bantamweight Tonya Evinger seems to be just now hitting her stride.
Over the course of the last five years, Evinger has won six fights in a row, and now finds herself in contention for her first MMA championship with Invicta FC.
“It’s always been my capability to perform like this. I think it just comes down to having the right support behind me and fighting for the right promotion and training at the right gym and having the right people in my life,” Evinger told MMAWeekly.com. “That’s what it came down to. It was just a life change altogether. I feel great where I’m at.”
Even though Evinger has achieved great success of late and is contending for a title, she still feels as if she’s on the outside looking in.
“I’ve beaten people that I’m not supposed to beat, and I’m still the biggest underdog in MMA, so I don’t think that winning this title will change anything in my life,” said Evinger. “I think people will still doubt me, my ranking, my ability, and everything that I do.
“So this is just another fight for me. It’s definitely the fight I’ve been asking for, and I’m just going to go out there and keep doing what I’ve been doing and beat people and hurt everyone’s feelings.”
Evinger (15-6) will compete for the Invicta bantamweight title Thursday in Las Vegas against a lesser-heralded Irene Aldana (5-1).
“I think this is great for her,” Evinger said of Aldana. “She’s jumping up real fast. She’s only 5-1 and is new in her career, and she’s getting this opportunity. I’ve been around for a long time and I plan on whooping her ass the same way I whoop everyone’s ass.
“I’m just going to do the best I can. I told Shannon (Knapp) that I didn’t care who I fought. I plan on fighting all these girls anyway.”
For Evinger, it’s her experience and all that she’s gone through over the course of her career and her attitude towards fighting that will help set her apart from other fighters.
“I think I have a lot of positives on my side: I think I hit hard, I think I’ve got great wrestling and my jiu-jitsu is very well-rounded,” said Evinger. “I think my experience will show. I try to finish people.
“I think that MMA has gotten boring when it comes to top fights. Everybody wants to play it safe. I don’t want to play it like that. I said a long time ago that I wouldn’t be that fighter. I want to finish people, every single fight, trying to finish people and it’s what wins me fights.”