Invicta FC 39: Miranda Maverick Hopes Fight Against High-Profile Pearl Gonzalez Leads to UFC Call-Up

Miranda Maverick Invicta FC
Miranda Maverick Credit: Dave Mandel, Invicta FC

Miranda Maverick has been on quite a roll recently. The Invicta flyweight has won four straight bouts, including her three-in-one-night performance at Invicta FC Phoenix Series 2. Winning that tournament, which consisted of a pair of one-round fights then a three-round tussle in the finale, also allowed her to avenge one of the two losses she has suffered in her career thus far, against DeAnna Bennett.

“It was very, very important to me to get that revenge so to speak,” Maverick told Cageside Press recently, while in camp for her next outing, at Invicta FC 39. “But at the same time, a loss is a loss, and it will always be on my record, it will always reflect what happened in that fight, as far as me not doing enough.” It was important, however, to get that win back, she added, “and just show people, show myself that I was better.”

The win coming in the tournament finale was no doubt the icing on the cake. Not a bad 2019, in the end. To kick off 2020, Maverick is going up against one of the higher-profile fighters in the promotion, former UFC athlete Pearl Gonzalez.

The added exposure from fighting a name like Pearl is an interesting twist in this instance. “It’s nice just because of my own exposure I guess you’d say. But I don’t walk into the fight training any different or acting any different or thinking any different,” explained Maverick. “Specifically just for money purposes, and exposure with sponsors, that’s the only reason I care.”

There is, however, another added benefit. “Hopefully because she’s been in the UFC before, just like DeAnna, it will get me more attention from people that are higher up.” Maverick has been “waiting for the call” — up to the UFC, that is — for a while now. While she’s juggling her education (her Master’s thesis is in the works, and she’ll be pursuing her PHD in Industrial Psychology after that), she’s confident she can handle both.

“As soon as I get [the call], I’ll be ready,” said Maverick. No need to put her academic pursuits on hold. “I’d 100% continue doing both. I wouldn’t change anything.” With one caveat, she added. “I’d hopefully quit work.”

As she explained it, “I have a balance down. It depends on the time of year, whether it’s difficult or not. Right now, finals and things, sometimes I have to say no to certain competition opportunities. Or figure out different priorities.”

Money-wise, “it gets pretty difficult, especially when finances are calculated,” Maverick added. “I do have to work, I do have to make a living aside from fighting at this point. Although I’m hoping that’s something will change in the near future.”

Maverick credits a number of factors for her hugely successful 2019 campaign. “Just training hard. Staying consistent. Having my mental game where I need it to be,” she suggested. “Being confident that I was the best in the division, and going in there and acting like it this time.”

Getting her striking upgraded was also key, which is something Maverick feels she was able to show in the Phoenix Series tournament back in September. Beyond that, “I try to stay very active in competition, which I think it important, regardless of what kind of competition it is. Just to keep those feelings there, keep those nerves down and everything, so you don’t have any nervousness when you go in and fight.”

Whether or not her education gives her an edge is another consideration. “I’m not sure if it does or not. I obviously understand the psychology of things, I understand the mind,” she said. “I think it helps me with my Fight IQ, just being intelligent to begin with, or having a little bit of an education in knowing people’s expressions, and how they handle themselves. You can kind of tell from eye movement, or head movement, when they’re getting ready to feint. It makes my movement faster, I think.”

“Just that discipline in general, being able to do school, translates into being able to train hard,” Maverick added.

When it comes to opponent Pearl Gonzalez, Maverick — with plenty of experience in the wrestling department — believes she holds the upper hand. “One hundred perfect,” she said on that front. “I think I have the edge over her in every department. I’m younger, I’m faster, I’m stronger. I think my striking has gotten to where it’s much better than hers. And I’m stronger than her in the striking.”

“In my clinch, she won’t be able to hang with me,” she continued. “I think her goal would be to outpoint me, outscore me, wrestle me against the cage, and it’s just not going to work for her.”

With a win, the goal for the rest of the year involves that call up to the big leagues. “If it happens before I get a title shot in the UFC, that’s fine by me. If the Contender Series or whatever comes next, or if I get the title for Invicta and then go on — which ever.” Regardless of how it happens, Maverick is ready for her shot.

Invicta FC 39 takes place Friday, February 7, 2020 at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. The card airs live exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. Maverick vs. Gonzalez serves as the co-main event.