Alyse Anderson Thrilled to Be Full-Time Fighter Ahead of ONE Championship’s Empower Card

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Alyse Anderson
Alyse Anderson Credit: Dave Mandel/Invicta FC

Invicta FC alumni Alyse Anderson is making her international debut at the upcoming ONE Championship: Empower card. It’s an all-female event that kicks off the women’s atomweight grand prix, where Anderson will meet Itsuki Hirata in the opening round.

Anderson’s first trip overseas was supposed to come back in May, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic saw the date pushed back. Meaning the 26-year old Michigan native has been training a good long while — in a new home at the MMA Lab in Phoenix, Arizona.

“It’s definitely been long, because of the date change, but I like that I’ve had extra time to prepare,” Anderson (5-1) told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview ahead of the fight. “It’s been really good.”

It was actually something of a relief when the Empower card was first postponed, admitted Anderson, because of the COVID-19 situation in Singapore. “Because of how bad COVID was in Singapore, they were trying to implement a bunch of new protocols in such a short time,” she noted. The situation, as she put it, was “a mess,” so the event being pushed back was for the best. With one catch.

“I was happy, but then it’s like, my whole summer has just been training now,” she noted. “But I’ve just been getting better.”

Ahead of signing with ONE Championship, Alyse Anderson asked for a deal that would allow her to train and fight full time. And that’s what she is now: a full-time fighter, having left her role as an emergency medical technician. It’s that hospital job, she explained, that drove her to make the jump to fighting full time. After all, in a pandemic, time off to train is hard to come by.

“I always took six weeks off of work, when I did have a fight,” Anderson said. “But because they wanted me to fight back-to-back in this tournament, and with the pandemic, at the hospital— under the circumstances, I didn’t even want to ask for time off.”

The move to full time fighting, and to Phoenix, took “all of eight days. Packing all my stuff up in a car, finding an apartment— because that’s when the fight was going to be earlier. So I was already eight weeks out, ten days out. I think I gave like a three day notice to my job.”

Her old employer was “obviously kind of mad,” admitted Anderson, who added that “this has always been my dream. I’m mostly just excited that I get to do this full time, and I feel super lucky to not have to work, and just focus on this.”

Her first opponent as a full timer is Itsuki Hirata, who enters the grand prix 5-0. Anderson admits that there’s definitely some motivation to “derail the hype train. Especially when you see they’re younger and have a little bit of cockiness.”

Anderson herself knows all too well about being young and cocky. “My one loss, I made that mistake, and didn’t take camp as seriously, because I was fighting someone— I was 2-0, I think she was 5-5. I was like ‘oh five losses?’ and just didn’t take it seriously, and then I lost. A split decision. I might have thought I won, but I left it to the judges, and in my head I was going to go out there and finish her.”

“I will never ever make that mistake again,” she finished.

ONE Championship’s Empower takes place September 3, 2021 live from the Singapore Indoor Arena in Kallang, Singapore.

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