Life is a weird thing sometimes. Actually, it’s always kind of weird if anyone is paying attention. Just ask Legacy Fighting Alliance strawweight Alandria Brown.
Brown is currently 28 years old and is 2-1 as a professional MMA fighter. She had a four-fight amateur career starting in Nov. 2018 and made her pro debut less than two years ago. However, she did not grow up with aspirations to be a professional fighter out of California. Brown is actually from Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“I didn’t grow up fighting or anything,” Brown told Combat Press. “However, my mom was an MMA fighter, my stepdad was an MMA fighter, and they owned an MMA gym in the town I grew up in. I had nothing to do with it at a young age. I literally didn’t even go to their fights. I didn’t care anything about it, and then, one day, I needed a job. So, I started working at the front desk at their gym. The boxing coach was like, ‘hey, come take a class.’ One day, I finally just did, and, from that moment, something like lit inside my soul that was like, ‘I’m going to do this forever. I’m going to make a career out of this.’ The best way I can explain it is this feeling that I get inside that, when I’m doing this, it’s like so much greater than love – so much more than passion. It just fuels me. I just love it so much. I love every part about it – the training, the dieting, the weight cuts and, especially, the fight.”
In 2017, barely old enough to legally drink alcohol, Brown decided she was moving to California to pursue a career in fighting. She didn’t have any friends, outside of social media, who had a gym to host her. And, if it wasn’t for a friend from Tennessee who had just moved out there and needed a roommate, she would not have even had a place to stay. The beginning of her MMA journey was a rocky one, but she made it work, starting at The Yard Muay Thai in Los Angeles.
“I really loved The Yard so much,” said Brown. “They’re, like, really great people, great coaches, and great training. I just wanted to move to MMA, so I knew that I had to go elsewhere. Then, I went to Black House for a little bit, but I was an amateur. Nobody gave a shit about me. I was just a body for the pros, basically. I left that place, and I was kind of on my own, until I found my coach Ben [Jones].”
Jones is a former pro fighter and longtime coach at CSW Training Center in Fullerton, Calif. His coach is Erik Paulson, a 6th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Rigan Machado and owner of CSW. How she ended up there is its own interesting story. After leaving Black House, and not really having a home gym, she ran into Jones and her now-fiancée Jacob Rosales at an MMA event.
“Ben and Jacob were cornering another fighter, and they were asking what gym I was from,” said Brown. “I told them I was kind of a nomad. I don’t even have a gym. A couple months after that, me and Jacob started dating. Coach Ben was like, ‘I’ll never have girls on my team. I’ll never train a girl.’ One day, he asked me if I wanted to try pro practice. I did, and I hung in there. I got beat up every day for like six months. It was just the perfect place, and Ben’s the perfect coach. I would never train or fight without him.”
Brown’s pro career has already been a bit of a roller coaster ride. She won her first fight with Shania Arrendondo by third-round submission, lost her second fight to Sydney Trillo by third-round TKO, and won her last fight over Jasmine Pouncy by first-round submission. All three of those fights were in the LFA Octagon, and she has learned a lot in a short period of time
“In my last fight, I got a first-round finish, but I still wasn’t really happy with my performance,” admitted Brown. “There were so many mistakes I made – many takedown attempts that I should have finished. I just went back and worked on it.
“Sydney was a great fighter, and she came out on top that night. I have no excuses at all. She won. I did have a horrible time coming back from my weight cut. I was throwing up all night, and, the day of the fight, I was throwing up all day. I didn’t tell anybody. When they weighed me before the fight, I weighed 117 pounds on the dot with my clothes on. I didn’t gain, like, one pound, and I just felt horrible. I’m not making any excuses, but I just wasn’t there. It wasn’t my night. Definitely, I went back and watched that fight and realized a lot of mistakes I made. I was very tired. I was very weak. I had no strength. After that fight, I went back to working on cage takedowns, and, in my fight after that, I did get Jasmine off the cage and took her down like three times in the first round. I did have some improvements there, but I would say that losing that fight really opened my eyes to a lot.”
Brown earned her purple belt in BJJ under Paulson in Aug. 2021, so, between that, and Jones’ catch-wrestling expertise, grappling is definitely a big part of her game. This will come in handy when she finally faces Rachel Martinez tonight at LFA 153 in Hammond, Ind. The two were actually scheduled to fight twice last year, but both of those fights fell through. The first because Brown broke her wrist. The second time was supposed because Martinez caught COVID, but Brown saw her traveling to NEw York on social media shortly after the cancellation, so she was suspicious.
“I’ve watched every one of her fights that are available for me to see,” said Brown. “I think that I’m so excited to fight another wrestler. I think that it’s going to be cool. Everyone I’ve fought so far was a striker. I know she’s got some crazy takedowns. She likes to throw. I think that, wherever it goes, standing or wrestling, I think I’ll come out on top. I’m super excited about Friday night.”
Martinez may only be 1-0 as a pro, but she had a very successful amateur career, finishing three opponents and only losing one fight, which was a split decision. Her last amateur win was a first-round knockout by slam, and her only pro fight ended in a first-round TKO from a crucifix position. Needless to say, she will be a formidable opponent who Brown will happily face tonight on UFC Fight Pass.
“I have had all the struggles in the world being here,” said Brown. “I have broken my ankle and had a torn ligament in my arm. I seriously lived at a gym for like 2 months. I’ve had all these struggles, and it’s so crazy that I am really living proof that, if you want something bad enough, and you keep doing it, you can get there. I lost three fights in a row. I had so many so many things where I have been like, ‘hey, you should probably pack up and go back to Tennessee.’ But I just kept on. I kept on, because I knew that if I couldn’t do it, then this feeling that I have inside me would not be there. I just kept on and kept on, and, sure enough, here I am, signed.”
Brown and Rosales just got engaged a little over a week ago, and between him and her nine-year old chihuahua Luna, and Coach Jones, she has the foundation of a family both on the home front, as well as the fighting front. She is also getting ready to start training to be a firefighter at Rio Hondo College, and she is being sponsored by La Hambra Fire Hall for her training. That is a long way to come from a long car ride and two suitcases just over five years ago.
“I feel great,” said Brown. “I feel like, each fight, I get more comfortable – less nerves. I started to realize it’s not a fight. It’s a fight, but it’s more of, like, just a sport. I don’t know. I feel like, in my earlier days, I used to get very angry or aggressive, and now, I’m just, like, totally chill. Yeah, we’re fighting, but it’s not even about that, if that makes sense. I feel more relaxed, and I feel great. I’m a hard worker and I’m coming for the LFA belt this year that’s my number-one goal.
“I actually used to teach the kids classes at CSW. I was there for three-and-a-half years, and now, my coach, Ben, has opened his own new gym. It’s called the Den Training Center, and I do personal training. I’m in the gym Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Then, on the weekends, I just like to rest. I’m basically in a fight camp all year round, and I’m ready to fight at all times. The only thing that changes when I sign a contract is that I diet just to get to 115 [pounds]. Right now, my whole life is just dedicated to this.”
LFA 153: Mariscal vs. Faria takes place at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino with coverage starting at 9 p.m. ET live on UFC Fight Pass.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.