Amanda Serrano Discusses MMA Return and Departure from Boxing

Amanda Serrano Combate Americas
(Photo: Combate Americas)

Just a month after winning a record-setting world title in a sixth weight class in boxing, Amanda Serrano returns to Combate Americas for her second MMA fight tomorrow night.

On the heels of her historic victory in winning a title in a sixth weight class in boxing, Amanda Serrano returns for her second MMA fight in Combate Americas. Ahead of her fight with Erendira “Aketzaly” Ordonez tomorrow night, she discusses her MMA experience as well her recently announced decision to walk away from boxing.

In April, Serrano was the co-main event on Combate Americas debut event on Univision, with ratings peaking during her fight with Corina Herrera. While she’s been on big stages for boxing several times throughout her career, Serrano admits that even years of professional experience didn’t prepare for exactly what MMA would bring. “It was definitely nerves. Being under the spotlight in a new sport, it was totally different. Going into the cage, I was out of my element. In eleven years of boxing, I never felt that way.”

Serrano has an outstanding 35-1-1 record in boxing and hasn’t lost since 2012. When asked about the feeling of not getting her hand raised in combat for the first time in years, she put the event in perspective. “There is no losing, just learning every day. I’m glad the fight went that way because it showed me that no matter how much I have conquered as a boxer, I can’t take all of it into the cage. I was only able to use 25 percent of it. It’s taking all of the wrestling, jiu-jitsu, so many things involved in MMA and it just opened my eyes.”

As many expected, Serrano showed excellent striking, but her inexperience on the ground was exploited. Herrera controlled the entire final round of their fight from top position which judges scored a 10-8 to force the draw and helped Serrano to greater comprehend the scope of what she had to learn.

“I was definitely on the floor 24/7. You have to learn how to fight getting up from the floor. When I first started training, it was more defensive. I was learning to defend off the cage, defending the choke. I was being a more defensive fighter. This fight is a totally different fight camp. They are training me to to be more aggressive with the takedowns and submissions.”

So what about the sport of boxing that she leaves behind? Serrano says that while her tweet was sent in frustration, the sentiment was genuine. After 11 years in the sport, Serrano struggles along with the rest of the women in the boxing to gain the same pay and recognition afforded to their male counterparts. Serrano has said in other interviews that she is making more to compete in MMA for Combate Americas than she did for her historic fight in boxing in September.

She leaves behind possible fights such as one with Cecelia Brækhus to break her own record and win a world title in a seventh weight class. But Serrano clarifies, if boxing is willing to come to her with a number on par with her current MMA contract, she will unquestionably return to the squared circle. “If it is a meaningful fight and the money is there I’ll definitely be there. Boxing is my first love. I love boxing. No matter what it is in my blood.”

While Amanda Serrano leaves boxing out of necessity, she supports those who continue to bear the torch in the sport. In particular, she speaks highly of her friend fellow boxer turned mixed martial artist: Heather Hardy. Both Serrano and Hardy have pushed for greater exposure for women’s boxing. While Serrano’s last fight did not make it to television, she knows it’s a great benchmark that Hardy will be getting the opportunity to be part of the final HBO boxing telecast.

“I’m happy for them. Any exposure that female boxing can get is good for the sport of female boxing. Heather’s been in the game a long time and Shelly’s been in the game a long time. They have 45 different fights between them. They deserve it. They put on a hell of a good show the first time around and now there are bigger stakes on the line.”

Erendira Ordonez was originally set to be Amanda Serrano’s original opponent in April before an injury removed her from the bout and the more experienced Corina Herrera stepped in. Months later, Serrano reinforces that she expects Ordonez to be as dangerous as ever.

“This girl is a great striker. So am I. She has great kicks but I’ve been working really hard on kicks too, maybe even before I started the ground work. I’ve been training hard and I’m pretty much ready for anything. It’s not just striking and not just kicking in mixed martial arts, so I have to be ready for everything.”

Amanda Serrano will take on Erendira Ordonez tomorrow night at Combate Americas: Serrano vs Ordonez, simulcast on DAZN and Univision from the Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.