Abu Dhabi, UAE — Ahead of the biggest fight of her career, Miranda Maverick continues to keep up on her homework and teach classes.
Maverick (7-2) is not your average MMA fighter. While plenty of fighters have jobs, few are juggling the type of schedule the the 23-year old from Missouri is. Now based in Virginia, Maverick is a PhD student, teaches classes, and is an Invicta FC veteran about to make her octagon debut at UFC 254.
Even during Fight Week, Maverick has been able to keep on top of things. Of course, given her preference, she might take a little time off while on Fight Island.
“I don’t really have much of a choice, if I did, I wouldn’t be doing it. But I have to work on my homework, I have to teach, I have a job and my schooling to keep up with the entire time,” Maverick told Cageside Press while in Abu Dhabi this week. “So I’ve been doing homework, fitting it into my schedule, making sure I can work around all the UFC stuff.”
Luckily, the time difference between Abu Dhabi and the U.S. means all her classes are late at night, so they don’t conflict with any Fight Week obligations.
For those unaware, Maverick is studying Industrial Organizational Phychology (IO). She’s also a Teacher’s Assistant, teaching two undergraduate classes — Developmental Psychology, and Adolescent Psychology.
Oh, and she’s making her UFC debut on one of the biggest cards of the year, Khabib vs. Gaethje. But for Maverick, the mix of brains and brawn is all about long-term security.
“For me, it’s important that I have a future for my entire life. MMA is a short-lived sport,” she pointed out. “When I get 35 years old, I’m going to be done with the sport whether I want to be or not. So I want to have something to lean back on. I want to have an education where I can go out and get a job, have a family, and be able to live my life happily instead of struggling for money for that part.”
“And fighting doesn’t pay as much money as people might think,” Maverick added.
Maverick has been turning heads in Invicta FC since her debut there four years ago. After premiering in the strawweight division, she soon settled in at flyweight, and would go on to win the Phoenix Series II tournament at 125lbs. In doing so, she won three fights in a night, against Victoria Leonardo, current UFC fighter Shanna Young, and Ultimate Fighter alum DeAnna Bennett.
“The tournament was one of those things that got a lot of attention for me, since I fought three times in a night. It kind of gave me that fame that I hadn’t had yet,” Maverick said. “People started recognizing my name a little more, within the division especially.”
It not doubt helped propel her towards the big stage. “Ultimately it was my dream to be in the UFC, here I am, and now my dream is to be in the top ten of the flyweight division.”
Oppnent Liana Jojua earned her first UFC win a few months ago on Fight Island. When it comes to the match-up, it’s clear Maverick is a fan. “I think the UFC gave her to me to kind of welcome me into the UFC. That’s how I feel about it,” she admitted. “I wouldn’t say it’s an easy fight, I never underestimate my opponents, I treat it like it’s the hardest fight ever. Which in my mind is against Valentina Shevchenko, which is the ultimate goal.”
Maverick has done her homework — not at all surprising given her other pursuits — and watched plenty of footage of Jojua. She’s also worked to round out her game, and while she’s best-known for her jiu-jtisu, “I’ve been working on my Muay Thai ever since I moved to Virginia,” she added. Given that was nearly three years ago, she’s definitely feeling better about her stand-up.
“I feel like I’ve improved so much,” Maverick said about her skill on the feet. “So my striking and my ground game I feel like will be advantageous towards her positioning.”
UFC 254 takes place on “Fight Island” (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi at the Flash Forum on Saturday, October 24. The main card airs live on PPV following televised and online prelims.