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Tiffany van Soest: ‘Winning the GLORY super bantamweight title is my destiny’

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“Time Bomb” discusses her upcoming semifinal bout in the GLORY women’s super bantamweight tournament and being a part of kickboxing history in Oberhausen, Germany, this coming Saturday.

Since she was a little girl, Tiffany van Soest had always dreamed of becoming a professional athlete and yearned to experience all that comes with it. “Time Bomb” first turned pro at the age of 18, but it was only recently, she said, when she made her GLORY debut at GLORY 30 this past May, when she finally saw — and felt — what she dreamt of as a child.

“It was incredible,” van Soest (15-2-1) told MMAmania.com. “Walking into a big arena like that, doing SportsCenter before the fight … For the first time in my career I truly felt like a pro athlete. You know when you are a little kid and you dream of being a pro athlete, you think of a big stadium, a loud crowd and all the lights and the sounds and the electricity in the air. That is what you picture when you are a kid. That was it for me. I was like, ‘whoah. Okay. I’m here. This is cool.’ At the same time … As a kid I visualized it so many times. What you believe and visualize, if you do it enough and really, truly believe it, it will manifest itself into reality. I really feel like it was my destiny.”

The inaugural GLORY Super Bantamweight title will be up for grabs at GLORY: COLLISION on December 10, 2016. But in order to get to the tournament final, van Soest will first have to get past her semi-final opponent, Jessica Gladstone, on the GLORY 36 Superfight Series card.

“Super tough, super durable, very strong and good muay thai foundation,” said van Soest about Gladstone. “I know she is coming to fight. I mean, this is history up for grabs: The GLORY women’s world title. I know everyone that is coming in, is coming in hungry and we are going to give each other our best. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Van Soest, who defeated Esma Hasshass by unanimous decision at GLORY 30 to advance to the semi-finals, has never fought in a tournament before, but will relish the opportunity–and challenge–that lies ahead.

“This will be my first time [in a tournament], so I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to, just to try it and see what it’s like and see how I do. And now I get to do that. It will be fun, something different.”

Not only will van Soest be part of history as far as the Women’s Super Bantamweight tournament, but she is ecstatic about being a part of a monumental day for kickboxing, as GLORY Heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven will be taking on Badr Hari in the main event.

“It’s surreal,” said van Soest, pausing to think of how to put it into words. “It’s … crazy. I don’t think it will fully hit me until I get there and see Badr Hari walking around. Because, I mean, I’ve been watching him fight since I knew what kickboxing was. So it’s like, to be … The fight itself is huge, but to be on the same card with Nieky Holzken and … Oh man, it’s crazy. It’s surreal.”

A California native, van Soest has spent the last year in Bali, Indonesia–which she calls “paradise”–training at Bali MMA under the tutelage of the Leone brothers, Anthony and Andrew, where she is also a muay thai instructor. When asked about it, she lists nothing but superlatives about her home away from home.

“I get to ride around on a motor bike and there’s rice fields and coconut trees, and awesome surfing,” she began rattling off all the reasons she loves Bali. “The weather is always great. Well right now it’s rainy season, so, like, in the afternoon for an hour or two we get rain, but I have no complaints, man. My team at Bali MMA, they are amazing. They are great. I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people. Everyone is working hard. Everyone is chasing their dreams. I don’t know, man, sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming, but this is my reality.”

She’s been crafting a game plan for not just Gladstone, but a potential tournament final against the winner of isis Verbeek and Amel Dehby.

“I’ve been doing a lot of switching between game plans,” said van Soest, who made her MMA debut at Invicta FC 19, losing by submission in the second round to Kal Holliday. “You have to game plan for each opponent, or each potential opponent. So just working on executing and learning different game plans for different situations and being ready for anything. And, of course, fighting two fights in one night means you have to be in shape, so my strength and conditioning and cardio have been gnarly.”

Although the loss in her MMA debut was highly disappointing, she said she has learned quite a bit from challenging herself in a new sport, and can use it as motivation going forward.

“It’s hard because I went into that fight as a world-class beginner,” she said. “Right? I’m a world-class striker, but a beginner in MMA. It was devastating, but at the same time i was very liberating and freeing. The worst thing that I was afraid of happening … The worst possible thing that happened, happened and now that it has, I don’t fear it. I’m kind of free of that fear now. It really showed me specifically. Everyone … A striker transitioning to MMA, obviously, work on your ground game, right? It really specifically showed me where in my ground game I need to work. I”m not taking anything away from my opponent, she is a D-1 college wrestler. She was really, really strong.”

“Being a bit of a fish out of water in the cage, as opposed to familiar and dominant in the ring, was an eye opener and ultimately a valuable lesson, albeit a painful one when it happened.

“The moment was crazy,” van Soest said, recalling the fight vs. Holliday. “It was kind of a dream-like state in there where my brain was telling me what to do, but my body was a little bit late on everything. It was crazy to feel like a rookie again, you know? It happens. We get over it. We learn from it and we move forward. It’s not the end of the world. It was a good reminder. Preparing for everything. The training was a little bit different, adding the wrestling and jiujitsu and that whole element to it. But, once I got in there and felt it. I was like, ‘oh, this is real. This is … Yep, this is what it is and I signed up for it.’ I hate losing more than I love winning, so it just makes me want to get back in there and redeem myself that much more.”

An avid surfer with a degree in kinesiology, van Soest does not have anything close to a chip on her shoulder when you speak with her, but in the ring there is a switch that goes on, as evidenced by her standing over her downed opponent, like she did after knocking Hasshass down in the opening round at GLORY 33. It’s safe to say there is a bit of a mean streak hidden inside her.

“That’s the ‘Time Bomb,’ she says. “You know what’s funny? My coach at home, Alex Palma, he’s got probably at least one photo from almost, if not, every one of my professional fights of me standing over an opponent from a knockdown or a sweep. You hit the nail on the head it’s that mean streak and the ‘Time Bomb comes out. I look at those photos and I’m like, ‘God, you’re a jerk That’s not me at all,'” she laughed.

With history on the horizon, van Soest will fly from Bali to Katara, then to London and finally a third fight to Germany to get the fight week started. She knows it’s a big deal, but refuses to let the moment be too big for her. She will be focused and ready once the bell sounds.

“It just goes back to my motto: at the end of the day all this is big and they are all big things, but who cares? It’s a fight,” she said. “You are there to fight. When you are in the ring, in the moment, nothing else matters and I get to do it twice in one night. Yeah, I think about it and I do a lot of visualization and like, situation visualization. I’ve tried to play it out every single, possible way in my head. LIke I said, I mean, who cares? I’m there to fight. Fighting is what I do. It’s my life and so when I’m in the ring it’s just a fight and I’m going to fight my heart out.”

Gladstone is no easy out, and if van Soest gets past her she will face either Verbeek, who is 8-2, or Dehby, who is undefeated at 28-0, in the tournament final. She is complimentary of her contemporaries saying, “all the girls in the division are super talented. GLORY did a great job of really selecting the best in the world.” But in her eyes, the outcome will be the one she visualized as a little girl.

“Winning this GLORY world title is what I was built for. This is my destiny.”

Source:: mma mania