When strawweight Felice Herrig stepped into the Octagon at Chicago's United Center in July to the poppy chorus of Rachel Platten's "Fight Song," she did so as an MMA veteran with everything to prove. Clad in a simple blue sports bra and shorts -- but sporting her signature rainbow-spiked blond braids -- the then 31-year-old bore none of the theatrics that had become her calling card.
Instead, she fought with a sort of murderous zen, throwing languorous left kicks and gracefully submitting Kailin Curran in less than two minutes.
The look, the attitude, the fight -- it was all a far cry from the disastrous night of April 18, 2015, when Herrig took a humiliating tactical beating from Paige VanZant over three pulpy rounds at UFC Fight Night. You could call it the end of the beginning for Herrig, who disappeared from the fighting world for over a year after that loss.
All of which made her comeback in Chicago last summer -- and her upcoming fight against Alexa Grasso at UFC Fight Night on Saturday -- less about redemption than about a decision to heal.