After nearly two years away from fighting, flyweight Sabina Mazo returned to MMA 2017 with thunderous results.
In two bouts, Mazo picked up first round highlight reel knockouts, instantly catapulting her into the MMA spotlight.
“I think it was a really good year,” Mazo told MMAWeekly.com. “I learned a lot. Not only from the victories I had, but I learned a lot from training and from living in the United States. I wanted to take my time (getting back into MMA) and make things right.”
Mazo’s back-to-back head kick knockouts of Jamie Thorton and Linsey Williams became viral hits, and has given her a chance to have high profile media appearances in outlets such as ESPN.
“I feel (the media attention) is part of the work I have to do to further my career,” said Mazo. “I don’t feel it as pressure. I try to enjoy it and try to learn to be better at it all the time.
“I feel every time there’s going to be more and more people following me. I know it’s going to get better and I’ll get more followers to come along with my dream.”
For her first bout of 2018, Mazo (4-0) will have an opportunity to claim her first major MMA championship when she faces Shannon Sinn (5-5) for the vacant LFA 125-pound title on Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“She has a lot of experience and is a really strong fighter,” Mazo said of Sinn. “It doesn’t matter if it goes to the ground or stays striking I know I have the tools to finish the fight. I feel comfortable in every stage of the fight. It can go anywhere and I’m ready for it.”
As for whether or not she’ll actively try to get a third straight knockout finish, Mazo isn’t going to try to force things to happen and potentially put herself in a bad spot.
“I never try to push it,” said Mazo. “If it doesn’t come along I don’t want to feel frustrated. I try to feel the fight. I try to feel my opponent and see the gaps. But it doesn’t need to be another high kick. It can be a possibility, but it doesn’t need to happen.”
With all her attention come lofty expectations for Mazo’s future. Whatever paths become available to Mazo, she’ll think about them after Friday night.
“I could defend the title or I could step up into the UFC, but I’m waiting to see what happens after (this upcoming fight),” Mazo said.