Paulina Granados waited more than a year to step back into the cage. On Friday, she will pounce on arch-rival Kyra Batara in the Combate Americas 19 main event. I caught up with Granados to discuss her upcoming match-up.
First off, how was your trip to Cancun for the Copa Combate?
“It was fun. I’m in the middle of fight camp so I brought my coach out there. I put some workouts in. Got a couple of runs in. I couldn’t get the full Cancun experience because I couldn’t eat what I wanted, but it was still really fun. The fights were awesome. It was a great event. I can’t wait for the next Copa Combate and hopefully it’ll be a girl version.”
How did you get the nickname “Firefox?”
“When I first started my career, I trained out of American Revolution Muay-Thai Submission Center in Corpus Crispi, Texas. My instructor Freddiy Medellin, he was trained under Maurice Smith. Well, Maurice Smith is an old school, OG UFC fighter and he would come down and train with us. I found out he doesn’t train females. Like he’s never trained females. I can tell he was like ‘I don’t know about this.’ But he saw how hard I worked and that I’m not like a normal girl. He just started calling me “Firefox” because he said I was foxy and sassy so he started calling me that and I was like ‘That’s gonna be my fight name.’ because it’s not every day that a freaking OG UFC fighter give you a nickname. So I just stuck with that to commemorate him and my roots with American Revolution in Corpus Crispi.”
Now, you’re supposed to be at the end of your training camp but I see you on Instagram chowing down on some delicious pizza. How are you pulling that off?
“Well, actually, that was a healthy version of a pizza. I’ve been training for this fight for quite some time. I live a pretty healthy lifestyle, just right now I’m trying to keep it below 1500 calories a day. Usually I have around 2200 to 2500. I train twice a day, my weight has been going down. So, I have a little bit of room for things that I enjoy. Or at least healthy versions of them. So I made like a whole wheat and corn meal crust pizza, with low-fat cheese and pepperonis and home made tomato sauce. I cook like that all the time so I know exactly what’s going into my body, how many calories, carbs, fats and proteins I’m consuming every day. So it gives me room to cheat a little bit here and there.”
The last time we spoke, Combate CEO Campbell McLaren had just presented you with a title belt and said your next fight would be for the championship. The fight with Batara is unfortunately no longer for the belt. What was your reaction to the news?
“At first, I was extremely upset and I cried. This was a big opportunity for me and I had been training for five rounds and I had a gameplan. But at the end of the day, I was thinking about it and I thought ‘It’s not for a belt and that’s okay. I’m still getting paid the same amount of money to fight less rounds. The belt almost doesn’t matter. The belt is just a symbol. I know I’m a champion and I don’t need a belt to define me.’ I just had to tell myself that and just get on with it. I have the same goal and that’s to win. I have to keep training hard, change my gameplay since it’s gonna be a shorter fight so I have to make it a faster fight.”
It’s no secret that the fight between you and Batara is a grudge match. I want to go back to the beginning, when is the first time you can recall ever having an issue with Kyra?
“I remember EXACTLY the first time I had a problem with her. I was watching back my first fight with Combate Americas and I was watching it with the commentary. She (Kyra) was commentating my fight. The commentators were saying good stuff about me and how Kyra was going to face me one day and she was just saying things like ‘oh she needs a few more wins first.’ I don’t know why it bothered me because she does not make those calls. You’re going to fight me one day and it’s not gonna be on your terms. She did the commentary for my fight with Jenna Serio and it was the same thing again. In my opinion, she doesn’t want to fight a striker who can defend takedowns, has a good grappling game, and who could possibly take her down too. So I think she’s trying to do some reverse psychology where if she says that I’m not good enough to fight her then she’ll convince herself that I don’t. But she can’t hang with me.”
One of her main criticisms is that when you two have gone back-and-forth, she will discuss things like her fight record and your response is just along the lines of “you’re fat” or “you’re ugly.” What is your response to that?
“I called her fat one time because she didn’t make weight and I was just being a brat. She’s not fat. She’s a tiny little round girl but she’s not fat. And it’s not superficial, it’s a fact. If that’s just what I see, how is it superficial if I call you fat? That’s what I see. You can’t say you’re not fat if you’re not making weight. And what about her fight record? How many losses does she have? 5? I have two. Ever.”
You called her out on social media to sign the contract to fight you, what was going on with that?
“I was just being silly because as soon as I got my contract I signed it and sent it back in and I knew she hadn’t yet so I was just being petty and giving her shit. The whole reason it took so long to get the bout agreement in the first place was because we were waiting for her to get some kind of clearance for her little rolled ankle boo-boo she got. That’s why it took so long to get the bout agreement initially because we were waiting for her. So I was just giving her shit about it.”
What is your evaluation of Batara as an opponent? Do you feel you have an advantage being six years older than her?
“I’m smarter. I’m more athletic. I’m faster. I’m just better man. I just know in my heart that she doesn’t train as hard as me. I know the work I put in. I put in more than people I know that are very successful. I’m a firm believer that hard work is everything. I feel like she’s a privileged child and I’ve never had that kind of privilege. I didn’t have mommy and daddy holding my hand, homeschooling me. They made me go to school and face my problems. I’ve never had my mom behind me, fighting my battles for me. I’ve always done everything myself. I’ve got grit, I’ve got heart, she doesn’t have what I have.”
Finally, what is your prediction for how the fight will go on December 01?
“You know how they call her the Ronda Rousey of Combate Americas? Well, I’ll be Holly Holm.”
Paulina “Firefox” Granados takes on Kyra “Mogwai” Batara in the main event of Combate Americas 19 on December 01, 2017 live on Telemundo. Check your local listings.