Of all the reasons to become a pro fighter, one of the lesser-heard ones is, “My dad said so.” Well, for Lisa Mauldin, it’s not exactly that simple, but it sure makes for a quick answer.
Mauldin currently fights in the flyweight division for the Legacy Fighting Alliance. She sits at 1-0 in the promotion and 3-1 overall. Fighting has been a family affair for her.
“When I was a lot younger — around 15 or 16 — I went to live with my dad, and he told me I was not going to be messing around and doing dumb stuff,” Mauldin told Combat Press. “He said I was going to be with my brothers and sisters, competing in karate. So, I started off doing karate. Honestly, I didn’t like it. I wasn’t good at it, and I did it anyway, just because my dad told me to. Later, after competing so much, we ended up switching arts, and we did Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu — not so much wrestling — but I absolutely fell in love with it. I loved Muay Thai so much, and I started competing in it. I started as an amateur and eventually turned professional.”
While the story sounds like it covers a lot of ground, timewise, it was actually less than five years between Mauldin’s start in karate and her first amateur fights in both Muay Thai and MMA. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that she made her pro MMA debut. She scored a split-decision win over fellow rookie Amanda Jones at Fight Club OC 51. Fighting is her current career, and she doesn’t have many other career aspirations in life, other than eventually working with children.
“It’s better than sitting behind a desk,” Mauldin admitted. “I absolutely love to fight. It’s one of my passions. I’ve been doing it for so long that when I stopped for a while — I tried to work in an office, and I was like, ‘Dang, I don’t like this.’ I wasn’t passionate about it. I really enjoy fighting. I love to learn, and it’s a never-ending journey.”
Mauldin’s last outing took place at LFA 66 in May. She bested Kaytlin Neil after three rounds. Mauldin’s next outing was supposed to come against another rising star in Hailey Cowan on two separate occasions — first in August and then again in November, when Cowan failed to make weight. Cowan would have been her biggest test yet, but the fight was just not destined to happen.
“It’s a little frustrating when things fall through,” Mauldin said. “At the same time, as I was preparing for her, I was learning. As I was going through that camp, I was learning new stuff. I was excited to fight her, because I heard that she’s a strong athlete and she’s going to put me to the test. I knew that I was never going to fight someone like her. It would have been a really great fight. What I was told is that they are bumping her to 135 [pounds].”
In early December, Mauldin found out about her next bout. It takes place on Friday night at LFA 81 at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif. The venue is only five miles from her camp at Team Oyama MMA & Fitness. Her opponent is Sam Hughes, who is currently 3-0 and will be making her LFA debut.
“She’s aggressive,” said Mauldin. “When she fights, she tries to impose her fight, and I’m going to impose my fight. I just know that she’s strong, she’s mentally tough, and she’s going to go after it. I’m tough, she’s tough, and it’s going to be an exciting fight.”
Mauldin is no stranger to competition. Her ultimate goal, like that of many fighters, is to make it to the top of the game. It has been shown time and time again that there is no better proving ground than the LFA cage. Mauldin welcomes the challenge tomorrow night.
“I want to be in the UFC,” Mauldin said. “I want to be in that 125-pound division. My eyes are set there, and I think I can be in the top 10. I don’t want to look past my opponent, so I need to start there.”
Mauldin is one of seven siblings. She lands right in the middle in terms of age. One can only wonder what life was like growing up in that household.
“I loved it,” Mauldin admitted. “It was such a big family. I had brothers and sisters, but I clinged to my brothers more. We were always around each other, and we played together. I loved it. I still do. We are older now, but when you have a big family, you had no privacy. We’d just barge into each other’s rooms and throw clothes in each other’s faces. I love my family — my big, crazy family.”
It might have been a crazy family, but their support has been unwavering. They definitely keep up with her career and plan to be in the crowd this weekend. While some of them have children of their own, Mauldin is still a student. She currently goes to college on Fridays — one of her only days off from training — because she wants to earn a degree in child development. Until then, she has business to attend to inside the cage. She’s just following her dad’s orders, after all.