Amanda Serrano has been a professional boxer for more than a decade, along the way becoming a six time five-division world champion. On April 13, she will step into La Jaula for her mixed martial arts debut with Combate Americas.
I know you have told this story before, but for MMA fans who are just getting introduced to you, how did you first get introduced to boxing?
“Well it was a long time ago. My sister, she’s a professional champion as well. She started when I was 12 years old. I was her biggest fan. I was always in the gym. My first jobs were actually at the gym where she trained and worked at as well. I just saw her success. I saw her and the guys at the gym winning the Golden Gloves which is the biggest amateur tournament in New York. I had graduated high school early and I decided ‘Let me give it a try.’ I had a few fights as an amateur and two years later I turned pro. From there I was winning and eventually became a multiple world champion.”
How did you get your nickname “The Real Deal?”
“There’s a website called WBAN which is the biggest women’s boxing website. They wrote a story about me about beating girls I wasn’t even supposed to be in the ring with and one of the reporters threw it in there ‘wow, this girl is the real deal’ and then my trainer Jordan Maldonado, his favorite boxer is Evander Holyfield so he was like ‘it’s a perfect match’ so we just kept it.”
You’ve mentioned in other interviews that you had offers from other promotions but chose to sign with Combate Americas. What were they offering you that the other companies weren’t?
“They are a Latino based company. They do whatever they can to help the Latinos out. I’m a proud Boricua (Puerto Rican living in the U.S) so that stood out to me. I’m a big supporter of Latinos, Latinas, anything to do with the Spanish heritage. I saw that they were doing a great job and I was like ‘yup. It’s a perfect match.’”
How much were you following MMA before you even considered competing in the sport?
“I was definitely a fan. I would watch it. I’ve been in boxing for eleven years so after awhile when Ronda Rousey started making a name for MMA I was like ‘let’s watch this.’ So I saw all these female MMA stars and it really got me interested. Then I filmed a movie (Fight Valley) with Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, and Holly Holm. That really opened me up more into wanting to pursue MMA. So I was definitely into it. At first I was like ‘Kudos to those girls. That’s a tough sport, I would not want to do that. I’ll stick to boxing.’ But now, little by little I’m falling in love with MMA.”
There are obviously several big name female boxers who have crossed over into the sport before you like Holly Holm and Heather Hardy. Have you reached out to them and what advice did they give you?
“When I filmed the movie with Holly Holm and Miesha, Holly told me that her biggest regret with MMA was not going into it sooner. I’ve seen her success and what helped her in her life. So I said ‘wow, this is cool.’ I didn’t go right into it because I had some good opportunities in boxing but I still started training. Actually, it was Heather Hardy who reached out to me because she wasn’t getting the same opportunities just like I wasn’t in boxing. I told her I started training in MMA, doing some kicking and grappling and going from there and then she started training too. When I found out she was making her debut I was like ‘oh wow, girl didn’t tell me.’” (laughs)
You’ve been a professional striker for years, what has helped you the most in learning the grappling aspect of MMA?
“I’m still learning every day. It’s definitely a hard sport. I always want to stick to my striking. Wrestling is hard and all the takedowns are difficult. But I’m learning each and every day how to defend so that’s a big thing: anti-wrestling. Defending the takedowns and if I end up on the floor defending the submissions. Also, hand control. We’ve worked wrist control, not allowing them to take me down and getting off my punches first and work to my strength. So that’s what we’ve been working hard on: defending.”
Your manager is former UFC and Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate. What kind of advice has she had for you as a former fighter who has now crossed over into the business aspect?
“She’s been giving me great advice. When she decided to become a manager and I was serious about going into MMA she was my number one choice. She’s been a Strikeforce champion and UFC champion she knows the sport. She knows the business aspect and she knows the fighting aspect. Who better to guide and manage my career than someone who’s been in the Octagon, been hit and been through all the stuff that we go through for MMA. She’s a great aspect to my career and I’m extremely excited to have her as part of my team. She’s been giving us great advice and I just can’t wait to show her in the cage that I’ve been working hard.”
Your opponent, Erendira Ordonez, has only three professional fights so she’s not quite the kind of competition you’re used to in boxing. But, how do you evaluate her as an opponent for your MMA debut?
“She’s 1-2 and definitely has more experience in the cage than me. But I believe I have more experience as a fighter and as a striker. I have 36 professional fights. I don’t know too much. Even in boxing I would have my manager and my trainer study my opponent and then he tells me what to do. My part is just to follow the plan, listen to them, and fight with everything I got. I don’t know too much about her but she has three fights and it’s my debut. Plus, she’s Mexican and Mexicans bring the fire. I’ve fought a couple Mexicans and they’re tough as hell so I know it’s going to be a great fight.”
We know you as an exciting boxer, do you foresee your style changing in mixed martial arts?
“Well, my style is one that entertains. I’m still going to go out there and look for the knockout. Ever since I started fighting I would just go out there and try to knock your head off. I don’t think anything is going to change. I think if anything I have to be a little more patient so I won’t be taken down. But other than that I’m gonna go full force and throw hard punches. With 4oz gloves, I’m going for damage.”
Finally, how do you predict your fight with Ordonez ending on April 13?
“I think a stoppage. I have 24 knockouts in 34 fights and that’s with 8oz gloves. I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable with 4oz gloves and I just can’t wait to land one good one in her face. Or a couple of them. So I believe a stoppage. Hopefully a nice knockout.”
Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano makes her MMA debut against Erendira Ordonez this Friday at Combate Estrellas 1 live on Univision.