Multiple-time boxing world champion Amanda Serrano will still be chasing her first win as a professional MMA fighter in her second trip to the cage Saturday night.
Last April, Serrano fought to a draw in her MMA debut against Corina Herrera at Combate Estrellas I. It was a fight where Serrano clearly did enough the first two rounds, but managed to get out grappled and ground-and-pounded on by the Mexican for the majority of the final round. Judges in Los Angeles thought Herrera did enough to get a 10-8 in the third, thus scoring the fight a draw.
“In combat sports nothing is guaranteed,” Serrano told MMA Fighting. “We thought we won the fight, I clearly took the first two rounds, but they made the third round a 10-8, so it ended up being a draw.”
Now returning to get her first MMA win, Serrano is glad she underwent a great deal of adversity in her debut.
“I was OK afterwards,” Serrano explained. “Like I said, I learned a lot from that fight, going through an actual MMA fight. There’s a lot of boxers that go through a transition to MMA and they just get striking match ups, so it’s basically a boxing match in the cage. I didn’t get that. I got cage work, ground work, striking, everything. So I learned, there is no losing.
Serrano describes her MMA debut as an eye-opening experience. She says she now’s sees the sport of mixed martial arts in a different light.
“I took away that this isn’t boxing and this is a completely different sport,” Serrano told MMA Fighting. “But I’m actually glad that fight happened, because if I would’ve picked up a win on my feet, I would’ve thought that MMA is easy, that I can just use my boxing alone to dominate anyone in MMA. That fight changed my outlook on the sport. I know I have to work hard on getting up off the floor and doing so many other different things. MMA it’s a sport of its own.”
In between her MMA debut, and her upcoming fight with Erendira Ordonez this Saturday at Combate Americas 24, Serrano won the vacant WBO light welterweight title, becoming a six-division world champion while improving her pro boxing record to 35–1–1.
“I also did a jiu-jitsu tournament and took gold in that,” Serrano added. “To me everything is a combat sport, so I took a lot from my boxing match to this fight. I was already training for a fight so it actually helped me for my MMA bout, and training for my MMA fight helped me with my boxing.
“In the beginning, the transition was a little rough for me because I didn’t know, so now it’s a little better. It’s still not 100 percent, but it’s actually helped each other.”
Serrano plans on running her boxing career simultaneously to her run in MMA. The Brooklyn native is in talks with her team of maybe dropping to 115 pounds and chasing a seventh world title in a different weight class.
The transition from boxing to MMA hasn’t been easy for Serrano, but she feels better with each passing day.
“I feel a lot more confident, a lit more comfortable with this MMA transition, but I really am excited to see the difference between the first fight and this fight. I’ve been training really hard and I can’t wait to see all the stuff I’ve been working on. So I feel good, confident, strong, and excited.”
Extra pressure was thrown Serrano’s way earlier this week when Erik Perez vs. Jon Castañeda dropped off the headlining slot due to a staph infection sustained by Castañeda. The promotion set Serrano’s bout as the main event of the card, and the 30-year-old is not really stoked with the decision.
“No, I’m actually not,” Serrano laughed. “In boxing, if you would’ve told me I was the main event, I would’ve gotten excited, I would’ve been like, ‘Ok, yeah!’. But in MMA, I’m still learning, so I don’t want to be under the spotlight like that. But I always arise to the occasion when the pressure is on me, so main event is a good thing and I will just push myself harder.”