Tammi Musumeci is following in her brother Mikey’s footsteps in ONE Championship and is currently deep into preparation for her debut on the global stage against Bianca Basilio at ONE Fight Night 8 on Mar. 24.
And it should come as no shock to anyone that her journey into the world of submission grappling started at a young age. Just like “Darth Rigatoni,” Tammi began her training in New Jersey thanks to their father. The American star watched her dad hitting the mats, and it inspired her – mostly because she thought it looked like fun.
“I started training when I was six years old in New Jersey. I started training at a gym called Fatjo’s Mixed Martial Arts in Marlboro, N.J. My dad was training at the time, and I thought it looked cool. So I decided to start training there as well. I wanted to do this because it looks fun,” Musumeci said.
“He used to do boxing and started doing Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. It was no-gi jiu-jitsu at the time, grappling, submission grappling. So he did have a background in martial arts, but, I mean, jiu-jitsu especially. It’s crazy. Even in those times in that area, jiu-jitsu wasn’t really that popular.”
Before she was nine, Musumeci was already competing in grappling. But unlike today, where there are many girls taking up the sport, the fiery youngster found herself facing off primarily against boys.
She began taking the sport more seriously in her teenage years and right there alongside her was her brother. The kinship between the siblings has helped elevate both to world-class status, and Tammi credits Mikey for helping to mold her into the talented submission star she is today.
“We started at the same time. We’ve always been partners, all the way back, even. We’re still training partners. So we train at different gyms, but we also train with each other. So we do training on the side by ourselves, which I felt helped me a ton,” the multiple-time IBJJF World Champion said.
“I learn more by trying to do movements. So Mikey would say he learned from me more, I’d just be doing something and not even knowing it. And he pointed out, but a lot of the time, I mean, he’d be teaching me a lot. Like, teaching me different reactions as well to react to what he’s doing. To help him better learn the moves as well. But yeah, I mean, he taught me a lot of cool tricks. That’s why I feel it as well. That’s what I always tell him too, I’m like, you created a black belt world champion.”
Her incredible talent on the mat is not the only thing impressive about Musumeci. The upcoming ONE debutant practices law full-time in conjunction with her athletic endeavors. Training throughout her years in school and on into college has helped her perfect how to split time between studying and the gym.
“I feel like my whole life, I’ve been in school so it’s been second nature for me. I had one situation, six months in between finishing college and starting law school, where I was able to not think of school at all and just train. But other than that, I’ve always been in school and training my whole life. So it’s always trying to figure out the balance. And that’s what it pretty much is, its balance,” Musumeci said.
“But it’s also having to learn to enjoy it as well. Because if I didn’t enjoy any of this, I couldn’t do it. It would just be like working all day. So I think it’s just learning to enjoy this and trying to find the enjoyment in it.”
The 28-year-old will try to find that enjoyment inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium and make an emphatic statement to the global audience when she deuts next Friday evening.
ONE Fight Night 8: Superlek vs. Rodtang airs live on Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Mar. 24. The event is free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime subscribers.