After splitting her two bouts in 2017, atomweight Ashley Cummins was looking to kick off her 2018 in strong fashion when she faced Stephanie Alba at Invicta FC 27 in January.
While Cummins wasn’t able to finish Alba, she was able to dominate the fight and pick up a unanimous decision victory, making it her third win in her last four fights.
“I’m glad I got the win, but I was actually disappointed in myself after the fight,” Cummins told MMAWeekly.com. “I think I could have finished (Alba), but unfortunately I didn’t get any good positions to lock in any submissions or have effective ground ‘n’ pound.
“I felt like in that fight after the first round she almost stopped fighting back, and I think it makes it difficult when the other person isn’t trying to fight back. I felt like she was just trying to hold on. But at the end of the day I’m still glad I got a win.”
In the 10 months since Cummins defeated Alba, she’s relocated from St. Louis, Missouri, to San Diego, California, and feels she’s added to her game enough that it will be noticeable in her return to action.
“Even before I moved to San Diego, after my fight in January I was in the gym right away trying to get better,” said Cummins. “Since I’ve moved to San Diego I’ve been able to improve my whole MMA game.
“I’ve added a lot more tools and I think I’m a lot smarter now with how I do things with my training camp, and my fight IQ has increased. I’m excited to get back in the cage and show the new and improved Ashley.”
On Friday in Shawnee, Okla., Cummins (6-4) will look to build a winning streak when she faces Jessica Delboni (7-0) in a main card 105-pound bout at Invicta FC 32.
“She’s got a good record, she’s undefeated, is well-rounded and strong,” Cummins said of Delboni. “I want to be tested and challenged. I told Shannon (Knapp) to give somebody that’s ranked, someone who is a high-level fighter; because I want to prove I’m the next title challenger.
“I asked for a tough fight and everyone is tough in Invicta, especially in the atomweight division. I want to prove I’m next in line to fight for the belt, so I’m excited for the challenge ahead and testing myself.”
Not only will a win over Delboni cap off an undefeated year for Cummins, she feels a shot at the atomweight title is imminent because of it.
“Shannon told me when I got my contract for this fight that this is a number one contender’s fight,” said Cummins. “The winner gets to fight for the belt next according to Shannon. (To be champion by this time next year) that’s definitely the goal.”