Liz Carmouche is on the prelims at Fight Night 63 next weekend. Despite being one of the better known names on the woman’s roster, ‘Girl-rilla’ is coming back onto the UFC radar very quietly.
Since her last fight with Meisha Tate nearly a full year prior, she had been pressuring UFC to book her on another bout, but given that this will be Carmouche’s 5th UFC fight and she had lost 3 out of the previous 4 it is understandable why her next fight took so long to materialise.
Carmouche first burst onto the MMA scene some 5 years ago, March 2010 and won 6 professional fights within 8 months where only 1 win came by decision. That is an extraordinary feat for any fighter. She powered on in her career with 4 more professional fights, earning 2 wins and 2 losses before becoming the first contender to Ronda Rousey’s title in Feb 2013. That was also her first UFC fight and the first ever UFC female fight. Rousey had since went on to break new grounds in UFC while Carmouche had not come close to equating Rousey’s achievements since the last time they met in the Octagon.
In the same year, July 2013, Carmouche made a different kind of history with her fight with Jessica Andrade as the first ever UFC fight with two openly gay fighters and Carmouche’s only UFC win so far. Her next two opponents were tough choices, Alexis Davis and Meisha Tate, both former contenders to the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey and it sent her sliding down the slippery slope of an unwanted losing streak.
With that in mind this next bout with Lauren Murphy will be crucial to keep her on the radar of world class female bantamweight fighters.
While Lauren Murphy is no contender to Rousey she was the last Invicta Bantamweight champion. She is the same age as Carmouche and they started around the same time in 2010. Unlike most other MMA fighters, Murphy did not have much of a martial arts background. She begun her unlikely career after taking her son to a Jiu Jitsu class in late 2009 and deciding to join in to encourage her son. Soon after she became hooked on MMA and trained with gusto, taking on her first professional fight within 6 months with no prior amateur experience to soften the blow. That’s no mean feat and shows Murphy’s level of courage and passion for the sport.
Murphy continued to experience tremendous success in the sport with an undefeated record of 8-0, winning the title of the Invicta Bantamweight championship along the way. Murphy then gave up her title in July 2014 to sign with UFC only to lose her first UFC fight December the same year via split decision.
Both Carmouche and Murphy are big names competing on the sidelines of a relatively small event. When two fighters are very closely matched it sometimes come down to who wants to win more. Tragically both now seem to have little to gain and plenty to lose should they not emerge the winner of their match this coming UFC Fight Night.