UFC 239: Randa Markos Says Improved Mental Game Key to Recent Success

Canada’s Randa Markos attributes recent success to improved mental game, as she heads into a tough test against Claudia Gadelha at UFC 239 this weekend.

Las Vegas, NV — Randa Markos is the lone Canadian on the UFC 239 card this weekend, and the strawweight with the fiery red hair has a big test in front of her. Markos (9-6-1), who is on a two-fight unbeaten streak, will go up against former title challenger Claudia Gadelha.

Gadelha was long the most dangerous fighter outside Joanna Jedrzejczyk at 115lbs. That was until Rose Namajunas, Nina Ansaroff, and Jessica Andrade seemingly surpassed her. So is Gadelha a fighter on the way down? Markos isn’t worried about that, she told Cageside Press at the UFC 239 media day on Wednesday.

“I’m not really sure what’s going on with her, but I know where I am, and I know where I am in my game right now,” the ‘Quiet Storm’ told us. “And I’m ready to take on Claudia Gadelha.”

When she does so, it will be off a Performance of the Night submission of Angela Hill in March. Prior to that, she fought to a draw against Marina Rodriguez. Asked for the secret to her recent success, Markos chalked it up to one key factor.

“Definitely my mental game, that’s the biggest thing that’s changed in the last few fights,” she said of her latest outings. Of late, the Canadian has been “focused on myself, and just being okay with everything that’s going on: the pressures of family, the pressures of social media, and all that stuff. And just being able to let it go and being okay with myself, and not being so hard on myself. That’s a big difference in my game, and just going out there and having fun again.”

Having fun might mean tuning out some of the critics as well. In the fight game, every fan with a keyboard seems to want to tell you how to do your job. The key to avoiding that, said Markos, is that “you just take it with a grain of salt. People love to tell you how to do it, and they can help you, they’ve been watching their fights, and they’re going to— I get people telling me ‘be careful, this is a tough opponent’ — you’ve got tune those things out.”

After all, every opponent is a tough opponent, and fighters can’t, or at least shouldn’t, be taking advice from anyone but their coaches and training partners. “The best way is to turn off your phone, or just don’t check your messages.”

As for the fight against Claudia Gadelha at UFC 239, Markos anticipates that “it’s going to be a tough fight. I’m expecting at tough fight. I’m not going to tell you how I’m going to [win], but whatever comes my way, I’m ready for it.”

Randa Markos faces Claudia Gadelha on the televised preliminary portion of UFC 239 this Saturday, July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.