Former UFC bantamweight title contender Liz Carmouche spoke about this weekend’s fight with Alexis Davis and revealed that the UFC had spoken to her about a flyweight title fight. On February 23rd, 2013 Liz Carmouche (11-5) became the first female fighter to ever step foot in the UFC’s Octagon. Since that evening, Carmouche has walked to the cage five times against some of the toughest opponents the women’s bantamweight division could throw at her.
Despite being a veteran and pioneer of the sport, Carmouche said that when she steps on the canvas this Saturday night it’ll be like it’s the fight in a brand new UFC career.
Carmouche has spent her entire UFC tenure as a bantamweight, but at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega, she’ll compete in the UFC’s newest division; women’s flyweight. Meeting here there is a another former 135er, Alexis Davis (18-7).
“At 125lbs I don’t have any fights,” Carmouche stated to Bloody Elbow. “Unlike 135, where I have a record and have cemented who I am there, at 125 this is a brand new opportunity for me. So I’m looking at this as if I’m a whole different person and I’m hoping that other people view it the same way.”
Carmouche is currently on a two-fight win streak after victories over Lauren Murphy in 2015 and Katlyn Chookagian at last year’s UFC 205. She revealed that switching weight classes means she is discounting any momentum those wins might generate. Another reason why she may not feel any kind of boost from her split decision victory over Chookagian is that she’s not totally satisfied with how she performed that night in Madison Square Garden.
“Honestly there are a lot of things I would have liked to have done differently,” admitted Carmouche. “I think that I was kind of apprehensive. I didn’t pull the trigger when I wanted to. There were plenty of opportunities for me to finish that fight. Instead I just kind of wanted to play around with her a little bit and I wasn’t paying enough attention to how much time was left in each round.”
“Of course, I’m always my biggest critic,” added Carmouche. “So I’ll never be completely satisfied with my performance, win or lose, even if I come out with a knockout or submission; I’m still going to wish that I did some things differently.”
‘Sergeant Carmouche’ – UFC/ZUFFA LLC, 2013
Though she may not be thrilled with her performance at UFC 205, Carmouche is glad that she got to prove her critics wrong. Vegas listed the ‘Girl-Rilla’ as an underdog against the UFC sophomore Chookagian. But those odds didn’t upset her.
“If anything I love when I’m the underdog,” said Carmouche. “It gives me an opportunity to fight back stronger and show people, ‘Ok, if you want to be on the side of the other person, then I’m going to make them pay for that mistake. Their body is going to pay the cost for you choosing them.’ So if anything, that always lights a fire for me.”
In the UFC’s developing women’s flyweight division, that crowned its first champion — Nicco Montano — last Friday, Carmouche is aware that she may not be as much of an underdog. The former title challenger is fine with being a favourite (as she is against Davis), but more importantly she’s happy (and relieved) to be competing at a lighter weight.
“This is a great platform for me to show what I’m really capable of,” said Carmouche. “I feel really good. At 135 I always floated too close to my actual weight. I was always trying to keep my weight up to 135. And every time I faced off with an opponent, I could never believe how large they were after they blew up after weigh-ins. I would always just be the same size.”
“I’m just not really meant to fight at 135,” continued Carmouche. “And I think 125 is going to be a lot better for me. It’s somewhere that I’m actually having to be conservative with what I eat. If it’s 11 o’clock and I want to have a pint of ice cream, it’s just not an option right now. To be able to have that extra focus on staying in shape, I know I’m doing the right thing.”
Carmouche is confident that in this new division she’s already a championship contender. That assertion has been supported, she claimed, by early conversations with the UFC regarding the new 125lb title picture.
They told me recently, when we spoke, that I’d be fighting for the title in lieu of having this fight first. So I’m hoping that this one, I’ll get it knocked out, and then just weeks or months from now the belt will be on the line.
“My intention is to challenge for that belt as soon as possible. I’ll put on a great performance in Fresno and that will really showcase what I expect to do at 125. I’ll make a statement and start gunning for that title in the hopes that the UFC will see my performance and give me that shot. They told me recently, when we spoke, that I’d be fighting for the title in lieu of having this fight first. So I’m hoping that this one, I’ll get it knocked out, and then just weeks or months from now the belt will be on the line.”
Looking to play spoiler for Carmouche, Davis is a ten-year veteran who holds wins over Tonya Evinger, Valerie Letourneau, and Amanda Nunes. Davis also has a unanimous decision win over Carmouche, when the two women faced-off back in 2013 at UFC Fight Night 31: Fight for the Troops 3.
“I’ve had a year to prepare for this fight and to look back on all the mistakes I made against her to make sure I don’t do any of those same things again,” said Carmouche. “This fight is going to be different. At 125, it’s a whole different platform for both of us and I know that 125 is where I’m meant to be. And that my strength is going to be there, my speed is going to be there, and everything is much sharper.”
Carmouche also suggested that she went into the first Davis fight with injuries that impeded her ability to perform. However, she doesn’t think that’s a viable excuse for losing. “She won that fight. Even if I’d gone in there with a broken back, it would of been my choice to go in there and take the fight. I can’t take anything away from her for that.”
Carmouche is healthy and raring to go this time around, though. And her hope is that, should she win this fight, she can get a quick turn around and begin competing for the UFC women’s flyweight title.
“[In 2018] I want to hit the ground as hard as I can, with the hopes that they will be calling me as soon as possible about title contention. And once I have that title shot, it’s a matter of holding onto that belt and getting as many fights in the book as possible.”
Alexis Davis vs. Liz Carmouche is the headlining fight on the FS1 prelim card. That portion of the event begins at 8PM ET, live on FOX Sports 1.