Ashley ‘The Spider Monkey’ Yoder got a big monkey off her back at UFC Denver, snapping a three-fight skid in the promotion and capturing a big, albeit close, win over Amanda Cooper.
Denver, CO — Heading into her UFC Denver strawweight bout with Amanda Cooper, Ashley Yoder’s back was against the wall. At 0-3 in the promotion, there was little question it was a must win fight for the ‘Spider Monkey’ from Indiana. Her opponent was no slouch. The occasion was a historic card. The UFC’s 25th anniversary. Resulting in more attention than most Fight Night events would garner.
The end result? A dream come true for Yoder, though she admits the decision could have gone the other way.
“I dreamed about this day,” she revealed backstage at the Pepsi Center with Cageside Press and other outlets in attendance. “Just getting the pictures is so emotional to me, because I put a lot into this. I’ve been on the end of some decisions that might have gone the wrong way, and this might have been one of those on the other side, you never know.”
Saturday night, however, went her way. It was close, mind you, and Yoder would have preferred a stoppage. “I really wanted the finish, couldn’t get it,” she said, “but I’m just ecstatic to be able to have such a great crew behind me this camp. Even with everything going wrong, even up to my shorts being wrong when I stepped here in the arena, I just kinda had to push through.”
Her shorts? Yoder explained that she had to man up and push through to get the win, despite the promotion giving her the wrong sized fight kit. “They gave me a size 24, and no one wants to see love handles after you gain your weight back from weigh-ins,” she joked. “That might have worked if I was 115. They were supposed to be bigger size, [and] they tried to give me a skort again.”
Despite the aggravation, Yoder was excited to get the win following a camp that had her looking to bring out a new Ashley, and continue her growth in the sport.
Taking a critical eye to her performance, Yoder explained that she “was disappointed in the volume of punches. I was wanting to throw more. I felt like I should have pushed the pace like I kind of did in the third. I should have done that in the first and second.”
“You hope for the best. I know I was prepared,” she added. “It just takes learning and losing and being on bad decisions to keep growing.”
Ultimately, however, Yoder feels she did enough to win the fight, which two judges had in her favor. “I think I did,” Yoder said in regards to securing the victory. “Honestly the thing that took me off guard was, I’m pretty good at takedown defense, and she took me down a couple times without me even defending it. Because I think I was so worried, or not worried, but focused on striking.”
Saying she’s generally comfortable on the ground, she admitted the easy takedowns for Cooper were “just surprising to me that I didn’t defend so well. I’m kind of mad at myself for that, but it happens.”
What’s next for Yoder? She’s hoping for a quick turnaround. “Let me get back in there. The more I’m in there, the more comfortable I’ll be.” It doesn’t matter who the fight is against. “No names, just let me fight.”
Watch the full UFC Denver post-fight press scrum with Ashley Yoder above!