Las Vegas, NV — While Lauren Murphy admits that with Fight Week comes a number of associated stresses, she’s thankful life has brought her to this point.
“This is a cool life. This is a really cool life. Most days I feel in awe that I’ve gotten to spend a great part of my adult life being a professional athlete,” Murphy exclaimed during this week’s UFC 266 media day. “It’s not something I would have planned for myself.”
The latest destination life has brought Murphy too is a title shot at UFC 266 on Saturday, against the dominant Valentina Shevchenko. It’s a shot earned through dogged determination, care of a five-fight win streak. Fighters with bigger names were given the nod over Murphy, but she refused to go away. Just being here, Murphy has said more than once, is a victory in itself.
If her life had turned out the way she would have picked it for herself, “I would have sold myself short a thousand times over. This is better than anything I could have come up with for myself. I love this.”
Throughout the buildup to Shevchenko vs. Murphy, the champion had exuded confidence, predicting a dominant win on her part and questioning whether Murphy offers anything she hasn’t seen before. It might appear on the surface that Shevchenko is overlooking “Lucky” Lauren Murphy, but the challenger doesn’t feel that’s the case.
“I don’t think that Valentina is the kind of fighter that underestimates her opponents. She’s been doing this for a very long time, she’s a very experienced fighter not just in MMA but other sports as well,’ said Murphy. “And I think she’s had a lot of experience. Probably in some of her fights, some of her kickboxing fights, maybe she was the underdog, maybe she’s already had opponents that she underestimated or whatever.”
“I couldn’t tell you guys what she’s thinking about me, or what she feels about me. I honestly don’t care. It doesn’t matter.”
Murphy has had plenty of critics over the years, and plenty of vitriol has been directed at her on social media. These days, she tunes it out. “There was a point in my career where I really let it get to me, and I was super concerned what other people think of me,” admitted Murphy. But, she told Cageside Press, she’s learned to tune it out “just through practice: reading, writing, meditation. Talking to people that I love and trust. I have really practiced what it’s like to stay more focused on myself, and you guys can see the difference that it’s made.”
“I can’t be focused on what everybody else thinks of me. I can’t even control what other people think of me,” Murphy continued. “And so what good does it do to focus on what they think of me? It doesn’t matter. For me, I’m going to be open to making mistakes, I’m going to learn from those mistakes, I’m going to pick myself up, and I’m going to keep moving on. People that are not inspired by that, I think maybe there’s something wrong with the way they see life.”
Watch the full media scrum with Lauren Murphy at the UFC 266 media day above. More coverage of the event can be found below.