A lot of fighters love the spotlight; some may even like it more than the actual fight. So is it safe to say that Hannah Cifers is the opposite of those folks?
“Yes sir,” she laughs. “I enjoy the competition in fighting. And everything else kinda just has to go along with it.”
Cifers may not have a choice, as she’s on a two-fight UFC winning streak and rapidly making her way through the strawweight division heading into a Saturday bout against Angela Hill that will take place in her home state of North Carolina.
Yes, that means “Shockwave” may very well be the center of attention this week.
“It’s a pretty stacked card,” she chuckles. “Maybe that means maybe I won’t be.”
It’s that low-key demeanor and sneaky humor that is keeping Cifers in the public eye, making her a cult hero of sorts just three fights into her UFC career. And as shy as she is outside the Octagon, the 27-year-old fights like an old pro when the gate closes, with a competitive loss to Maycee Barber in 2018 followed by a perfect 2019 campaign that saw her defeat Polyana Viana and Jodie Esquibel. And while she was scheduled to face Brianna Van Buren this weekend, when Van Buren withdrew from the bout, Hill stepped in, and it’s an even more attractive matchup for a fighter who has won half her fights by knockout.
“I think the fight with Hill is probably more fun stylistically for me,” she said. “I had to change up a little bit (from Van Buren), but she’s a lot bigger name than Brianna is because Hill is from the east coast originally, so she’s fairly known here. So it’s a bigger fight for me.”
It’s also one that could put Cifers in the top 15, and as she gets more comfortable in the UFC, she becomes more and more dangerous.
“I’m getting a little more used to the UFC fights,” she said. “I’m not quite as nervous as I was the first time, but I’m still a little bit.”
What hasn’t changed, though, is Cifers’ love of the sport, and while she’s got business to take care of in Raleigh, a 40-minute drive from her home in Wake Forest, she will also be a fan this week.
“I’m a big fan of (Junior) Dos Santos, so I’m really excited to be able to fight on the same card as him,” she said of this weekend’s headliner. “I’m still a really big fan. I’ve watched it most of my life, and it’s extremely cool to get to fight on cards with people that I really looked up to when I was younger, watching them.”
If things keep going the way they are, someday an up and comer will say the same thing about fighting on the same card as Cifers, and such a suggestion would probably make her blush, but that’s a reality she may have to get used to. Just like that spotlight.
So is she ready for all this?
“I’m working on it,” she laughs.