Invicta FC 30’s Miranda Maverick on Pursuing Academic and UFC Dreams

Miranda Maverick Invicta FC 30
Miranda Maverick Credit: Dave Mandel/

Miranda Maverick returns at Invicta FC 30 this weekend, and we caught up with the up-and-coming flyweight ahead of her fight.

Miranda Maverick is another promising undefeated prospect in the Invicta fold, now competing in the flyweight division. At just 21, she’s compiled a 3-0 record, while juggling her academic career, no small feat. On Saturday, the Drury University grad returns at Invicta FC 30, taking on Brogan Walker-Sanchez, a similarly undefeated fighter.

Maverick’s 3-0 record is deceiving, given she built up a wealth of amateur experience before turning pro with Invicta FC in 2016. Yet when she turned pro, the UFC had no flyweight division, which led to the young fighter undertaking a grueling weight cut to 115lbs in Invicta, with the big show clearly the motivating factor. The emergence of a 125lb division in the UFC is “very important” as a result. “That’s actually why I started out my Invicta career trying to make the strawweight division, because the UFC did not have a flyweight division.”

The weight cut, however, made Miranda Maverick “very miserable. To the point my body was almost going into shock,” she informed us. “I had to be carried down to the weigh-ins, it was not a good home for me. And so, I did not make weight the first two times I tried.”

Her third fight came at flyweight, as will her fourth. As for any trip back to 115lbs, it would only come if she happened to conquer the flyweight division, perhaps for a title shot sometime down the road. “I hope I don’t have to try to go back down to strawweight in the future without a proper nutritionist and plenty of time.”

With that in mind, Maverick has one suggestion for regulating weight cuts. “I think they should have a limit to how much body fat percentage people can cut. I think it’d help a lot of us,” she suggested. Of course, there would be health benefits for those attempting too much, and a little more fairness for those who don’t cut as much.

Maverick has pursued her academic career alongside her MMA career thus far, with a double major as an undergrad — psychology and sociology. This fall, she’ll take the next step, and pursue her PhD in Industrial Psychology.

“I’m sure it’s harder than it would be by itself, but to me, they’re both my passions,” she said of pursuing both her fighting and academic dreams. “For me, it’s a back-up, in case the fighting doesn’t work out, I actually have a future ahead of me.”

“It’s easier for me to focus on more than one thing at once,” Maverick continued. “I don’t really have much of a social life where I go out and do stupid things or party or anything like that. So for me, those are pretty much the two things in my life that I focus on, and it’s easy enough for me to do.”

She does admit to allowing her fighting career to influence her academic pursuits, just a little. “I went across the country and looked at several different grad schools,” she explained, “and decided on a few based on the different gyms that they had nearby.”

At Drury University, where she studied through her undergrad years, she joined the wrestling team. The men’s wrestling team. “I got asked to join their team, because they started a wrestling team my second year there. Basically I did a lot of conditioning classes with them, and classes with them,” she told us.

“I actually got a lot better at wrestling for being with them. Mind you, I was not very good compared to a lot of those guys, they basically beat me every time we did live wrestling,” she admitted. “But it definitely helped me in my conditioning.”

There was another added benefit as well, since being the only girl on the team helped her attract sponsors.

Wrestling wasn’t her first love, however. That would be Jiu-jitsu. “It’s my favorite still, it was my favorite then. I feel like it’s the ultimate self-defense form.”

When Miranda Maverick returns to the cage this Saturday, it will have been just over a year since her last bout. It wasn’t her studies that kept her away, however. An injury kept her out of action for the better part of a year, one she preferred not to disclose. That said, “now I’m ready to go. It’s better than it ever was.”

And she feels she has a good match-up against Walker-Sanchez, pointing out that her opponent has gone to decision a number of times, while Maverick herself is a finisher. “I’m ready to go in and show what I can do in this fight,” she said.

“I feel like I can beat her in all areas. She’s mainly Muay Thai background, but does have a good jiu-jitsu background too,” Maverick continued. “But I’m confident in my striking now, compared to what I used to be, and I’m confident on the ground. So where ever this fight gets taken, I’m happy to take it there.”

Adding that “I’m hoping for a finish very fast,” she made a prediction for how the end would come: “Ground n’ pound, first round.”

After that? Maverick, whose ultimate goal is the UFC, hopes to be back in the cage sometime later this fall, even with her PhD in full swing by then. If she continues her winning ways, there should be plenty of opportunities for her, in Invicta or outside.

Looking at how the women’s side of the sport has grown, it certainly impresses Maverick. Some of it, she suggests, “is because of how sexualized the sport can be at times,” but there’s there are other factors as well. Including how prevalent women’s sports are in this day and age — “it’s been an easy foundation for them to build off of,” she noted. And beyond that, “a lot of people find a lot of entertainment in it, on the women’s side.”

“I remember when I was younger, there weren’t a quarter of what there is now in women’s MMA.”

When she was starting out, she had just a handful of role models in the sport. “Tecia Torres, for the females,” Maverick singled out. The flyweight first saw her on The Ultimate Fighter 20. “I just loved her style and everything. And now that I’ve got to meet her and train with her, I like her even more.”

On the men’s side? Some of the classiest fighters in the game. “I really like GSP, since I started. Matt Hughes. Brian Stann has always been a role model, in terms of himself as a person.”

Moving forward, she may very well be a role model for the next generation of fighters some day.

Invicta FC 30 takes place Saturday, July 21 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, MO. The event airs live exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.