It’s been nearly a year since women’s 125-pound prospect Rachael “Panther” Cummins has last fought, and it’s not by her choice.
In what could be labeled a series of unfortunate events, Cummins has been on the sidelines since last October because fights fell through for one reason or another.
“I was supposed to fight in March, but my opponent pulled out two weeks before my fight in BAMMA USA,” Cummins told MMAWeekly.com. “They tried to find another opponent and asked like five people and no one accepted the fight.
“Then I was supposed to fight again in May for OC Fight Club, but the whole show got cancelled because it was supposed to be a private event but there was something wrong with the permit. It all just kind of came as bad luck.”
Cummins admits the cancellations were disappointing, but she has used her time productively.
“It does get stressful because having all that time without a fight I felt like I was missing out on something,” she said. “The reality of it is, it kept me training really hard every day and made sure I kept active that way so I wouldn’t fall behind.
“I should be a completely different fighter. I’ll still be the aggressive fighter that I am – I’ll always be that aggressive fighter – but I’ll have a lot more technique to go with it.”
Cummins’ patience has paid off as she’ll be part of the upcoming women’s 125-pound tournament in Brazil hosted by the XFC on Sept. 27.
In the first round of the tournament, Cummins (2-1) will take on Talia Santos (3-0). And while Cummins doesn’t know much about Santos, she feels that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I’m glad I don’t know much about her because it makes me feel like I’ll learn more about what I’m capable of doing and less about what she’s capable of doing,” said Cummins of Santos. “I know she’s undefeated and knows how to finish fights, so it should be a good match and I’m excited about it.”
A win over Santos on Sept. 27 will not only put Cummins in the second round of the tournament, but she feels will help be the catalyst for big things to come in the future.
“Right now the girls are up-and-coming,” she said. “I think my weight class will be the next one in the UFC after 115 pounds, so I really think this is a huge opportunity.
“I would assume this will put me a lot higher in the rankings because there’s some good competition in this tournament and winning a belt in the XFC would be awesome.”
(Photo courtesy of Ray Kasprowicz and TUFF-n-UFF)