Sarah Alpar will be the first one to tell you that she’s a little awkward. Some situations she gets dropped into make her feel a bit like the cat has her tongue. Of course, since picking up a UFC contract with a submission win on the Contender Series, there are even more of those situations. The doors that have opened for her since that fateful moment that Dana White extended an offer to her have left her side-by-side with fighters she’s been watching for years — and that hasn’t exactly helped her in the awkward department.
“I went up to the Performance Institute and I just saw all these fighters that I’ve always just seen on TV and then they’re there in person,” Alpar recalled. “I’m already awkward, so I was super, extra awkward just kind of staring at them like ‘oh my gosh.’”
Despite having a contract with the same organization, and even having the opportunity to throw down with some of these fighters, Alpar still found herself needing a reminder that she is on that level.
“Part of making it to the UFC — the whole thing is kind of weird at first,” she said. “The whole thing is on a different level and I keep having to remind myself like ‘you are here now and these are all people just like me.”
And it wasn’t just a trip to the Performance Institute that left her a bit starstruck. With the big victory, an opportunity opened up to train at one of the famed gyms in the world of MMA with one of the biggest names.
“I went to New Mexico for a few weeks to train at Jackson-Wink because I hear great things about them,” she said of her recent trip. “Seeing everybody up there and even training with Holly Holm… I feel like I couldn’t have the right words to talk.”
But while Alpar is up front about her awkwardness, she’s equally as up front with her goals in the sport. While she enjoyed training with Holm and seeing the other fighters, she’s not here to snap pictures and shake hands.
Having been written off by people before, she’s out to show what she’s able to do in the cage and turn some heads in the process.
“I want to go out there and I want to show my skill set and what I have,” Alpar said. “I’m always trying to grow and be a better fighter and always trying to prove everyone wrong — so that’s the plan.”
You can see her make that statement against Jessica-Rose Clark as part of the prelims on UFC Vegas 11 on ESPN+. Check out the full the audio for this interview here.