After ripping off three straight wins in the UFC, Vanessa Demopoulos ran into a tough test in Karolina Kowalkiewicz. After 15 hard-fought minutes, a unanimous decision went the other way, ending her streak.
Looking back at that fight Demopoulos credits her tough opponent for coming in strong. However, she also recognizes that she wasn’t the best version of herself that night. Some of that was due to personal issues, but some was because she just didn’t feel settled into her camp.
“I was training out a Factory X at that time with Marc Montoya. I still have a good relationship with Marc Montoya – he’s great,” Demopoulos noted – crediting the entire Factory X team as being amazing. However, they just weren’t what she needed at the time, nor did she have the time to get situated. “I was just going through a lot of things myself and I had just moved to Denver. I didn’t really get myself acclimated.”
So after the loss, Demopoulos decided that she was going to try something a little bit different. Much like Lauren Murphy did before her run to a flyweight title shot, ‘Lil Monster’ has decided to put together her own fight camp.
“I am now training out of [Vegas]. I really put together my own camp. I’m primarily out of the Performance Institute,” she shared. “I am going over to Xtreme [Couture] and training with Dennis Davis, who is my head coach right now. I also have Mateus Nicolau, who came from Brasil and actually was Jose Aldo’s striking coordinator for quite a while.”
There is a large cast of characters who all come together to make her camp a reality. And while this isn’t something we see much of in the world of MMA, this is not new for her. Early in her career, she built a similar thing while travelling around the West coast.
“I have done this before. This is similar to what I dealt with when I was in California,” she said. “I really a la carted my camp out there, so this isn’t something foreign to me. I know this is not for a lot of fighters. Some fighters want to go somewhere and have everything in one place.”
With her first self-made camp in the UFC under her belt, she feels better than ever and couldn’t be happier with her decision.
“This has just worked out great for me. I get to pick the people I want to work with and I jive with the best,” Demopoulos said. “It’s just really awesome.”
She’ll look to show the fruits of that labor this Saturday. She takes on Kanako Murata as part of the UFC Vegas 80 prelims, which starts at 4pm EST on ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:19.