By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans. Today I am sitting down with MMA/Grappler Bridget McEliece. She has a match coming up on April 14 at Fight to win pro 31 in Philly. Let’s have a seat and get to know her a little bit better.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Bridget: Being a fighter means following your passion. I think it means that you also are being true to yourself. If you want to go out and do something go for it. Give it everything you have. Your 100%. I don’t think being a fighter necessarily means you have to fight, or fist fight for anything you have to be true to yourself and follow your own path as opposed to one that is expected. I think being happy is what makes me a fighter. I follow my passion, and do what makes me happy. There’s no place I’d rather be than training and fighting and trust me I’ve tried working other places or following a more “conventional” route and it’s just not in the cards. I was unhappy and felt as though I was lying to myself. If you’re truly passionate about something you have to follow it. Trust it, fight for it.
Nick: At what age did you begin your training in martial arts?
Bridget: I began training at 23, right when I graduated college. I had played sports my entire life, mostly a swimmer and then my senior year of college I took up rugby and loved it. However, my last game I head butted a teammate in a tackle (I looked like a unicorn) and after that I knew rugby was awesome but not for me. I wanted something that was that physical, but way more individual. I spoke to a few friends at home and thought why not give MMA a shot and shortly after graduation I signed up with my first gym and have been training ever since.
Nick: What belts do you have and in what disciplines?
Bridget: I am a purple belt in jiu jitsu and even though I had trained muay thai for about 3 years I never received any ranking.
Nick: What camp do you train with? How long have you been there?
Bridget: I train under Daniel Gracie at Renzo Gracie Philly and I have been there for the past 3 years.
Nick: With a background in BJJ do you prefer to take a fight to the ground or are you just as comfortable in a striking battle?
Bridget: It depends on the fight. I’m definitely a ground and pound fighter but I’m comfortable standing when I’d like to. When I first started training I was primarily a striker and loved muay thai. It wasn’t until I began training at Daniel’s school did I get away from that.
Nick: What would you say your biggest strengths are?
Bridget: I would say my biggest strengths are that I’m stronger than I look. I’m athletic and learn quickly. I am a powerhouse and can listen to my corner.
Nick: What’s your favorite submission to use in any fight?
Bridget: My favorite submission is definitely an arm bar. I prefer that over everything. I’m on a bit of an arm bar binge.
Nick: People talk about the next generation of fighters all the time. Do you feel that you represent the next generation of fighter in some ways? Do you feel any pressure to represent that next generation?
Bridget: A bit. What’s tricky about the next generation is that I see them at tournaments. They’re amazing. They’ve been training or began training far sooner than I have. I just hope I can be a good role model for them for their future. They scare me though, they’re absolute savages and I’m definitely a bit jealous. The only thing I regret with training is not training sooner.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Bridget: Cutting weight sucks. It absolutely has an impact on your fight. I’ve cut 7-25 lbs for fights. I’ve done day before weigh ins and day of weigh ins. I’ve tried sauna and baths, walking on treadmills with sweat suits, I’ve done it all. Although I believe it does affect your strength we are still far more powerful than we think. We, as fighters, need to keep a positive mindset through the whole process because that’s what I think can really break you. If you break before a fight, you’re screwed. Doesn’t matter how good or bad the weight cut is, if you’re kinda not there, you’re done.
Nick: Most fighters get branded with a nickname at some point in their career. Do you have one? If so who gave it to you and why?
Bridget: I’ve had a few nicknames through the years. I think my favorite one was my first one from my first coach. He called my BB guns. Pretty sure it was because I had double black eyes during the first 6 months of training but that name stuck for quite some time. Now everyone calls me breezy or beezy (mostly because that’s the IG name)
Nick: You understand that marketing is important in this sport. Do you plan on one day having your own brand?
Bridget: In terms of having my own brand, I’m not quite sure. Maybe one day but that’s not really in my head right now.
Nick: Since you are making this journey what advice can you give to new fighters wanting to make this a career?
Bridget: I would say, be smart, be prepared to make sacrifices, be strong. If this is something you truly love, just start training compete, see how far you can go and if you want to go further. Do it. Believe in yourself.
Nick: You will be facing a super tough and durable opponent in Brittney Elkin April 14 at Fight to win pro 31 in Philly. Do you have a prediction for the fight?
Bridget: I’m working on a few things for Brittney. Don’t want to say too much about it but I’m excited to step onto that stage and take down the win.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Bridget: I don’t have a favorite fighter. I know that sounds dumb but I guess I have some top fighters that I adore. In terms of MMA it is Robbie Lawler, Cat Zingano and Benson Henderson. In terms of bjj it’s Leandro Lo, Michelle Nicolini, and Andre Galvao to name a few (there’s so many more)
Nick: If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be? Why?
Bridget: A dream fight I think would be Cat Zingano. I’ve really admired her so much since I first saw her back in 2013. She has so much heart and it pours out in her fights. She’s incredible to watch.
Nick: Bridget have you submitted to the takeover?
Bridget: This is Bridget McEliece and I have submitted to the takeover.
Bridget is an awesome person and I wish her luck in her upcoming match. She would also like to send thanks to her friends, family, fans, training camp, and coaches. sh her well in her upcoming event. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA