UFC Minneapolis: Emily Whitmire Overcome Late Sparring Injury in Last Victory

Emily Whitmire will be looking for her third straight victory next week at UFC Minneapolis after an emotional submission win in her last bout.

Las Vegas, NV – Emily Whitmire is just 4-2 in her professional career but has scored two impressive victories since dropping her UFC debut. She’ll welcome Amanda Ribas back to the cage after a multi-year layoff next week at UFC Minneapolis.

Whitmire scored a great submission over Alexandra Albu in her last appearance in less than a minute. After the quick win, “Spitfire” displayed a lot of emotion in both her celebration and her post-fight interview. Whitmire explained the difficult lead-up to the fight to media members at the UFC Performance Institute at the UFC Minneapolis Media Day.

“I have some people online trolling me and saying things. I was a big underdog and I got hurt my last sparring session. I had a perfect camp. It was amazing. And then to get hurt on my last sparring session, I was crushed. I couldn’t sleep that night my leg hurt so bad. I couldn’t really walk for two days. I was in here getting worked on and it was a lot not being able to finish that last hard week. But my coach did a lot reassuring me like, ‘You did amazing. If you don’t even throw a punch or run or anything in the next two weeks, we have no doubt that you will go out there and kill this girl.’ And so I believed in them, I believed in my coaches. I had a lot of nerves that day too so I think that played into it. My last two fights before that, no nerves, really excited to go out there and perform and I was just all over the place that day. I don’t know if that helped me perform even better but it was just that quick win. I believed in myself and I truly felt that submission. I knew I was going to get that rear-naked choke. I knew from the moment that fight got called like, ‘I’m going to get this choke.’ I even thought for a second that I might set a record, but I was like, ‘Okay, calm down Emily.’ When it all happened it was just such a surreal moment. It didn’t even feel real for two weeks after.”

Coming into the UFC with just four fights to your name would be a tough spot for any fighter. However, Whitmire feels more ready than her record would suggest.

“I’m new in the sport, I guess, according to my record. I don’t think people realize I’ve had 10 amateur fights. I’ve been fighting since I was 18, that’s about 10 years now. I did have a lot of experience. I was a main event at a casino. I had some bigger fights in the Pacific Northwest that had that kind of spotlight and pressure. My two training partners were champions. A lot was expected of me, then I went on a three-fight losing streak and moved here, picked that back. So I’ve always been someone that’s won, lost, won, lost. I really feel since The Ultimate Fighter that I’ve really found my place and I came into who I am. Everything is clicking at the gym. That’s something that a lot of people don’t give time. They’ll be at a gym for a little bit of time and go on a two-fight losing streak or have a couple of rough patches and don’t give the process the time it deserves. I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing here. I don’t go do things, I don’t go out, I work really hard, I kept a serving job. I really kept my nose to the grindstone these last five years and I really feel like it’s finally paying off. This is what I’m meant to do. This is why I’m here. Even in those hard spots when I’ve lost and I’ve been down and I’ve been really mean to myself, I still knew this isn’t it. I always pushed on and I feel like that’s what makes a champion.”

There has been a trend in the opponents Emily Whitmire has faced recently, as her last three foes (including her next opponent, Amanda Ribas) have been coming off extended layoffs.

“I thought it made sense. I think I have the smallest record on the strawweight roster so who else is a debuter going to fight. I’m the girl that’s like, ‘[Alexandra] Albu hasn’t fought in two years. Of course, give her to Emily. Jamie [Moyle] didn’t fight for a while. Give her to Emily. Amanda [Ribas] got signed two years ago or three years ago and hasn’t fought since. Give her to Emily.’ So I think all these decisions make sense. I think they’re fair matchups. I think the UFC and Mick [Maynard] are doing a good job with me, not being unfair at all. So I think after this fight, maybe another one, they’ll give me somebody with a number next to my name. I think they’re taking their time, and I think Mick’s doing a really good job.”

See if Emily Whitmire continues her climb at UFC Minneapolis next week on ESPN and check out the rest of the scrum above.