Scrawled big and red on the gym’s wall for all to see, "Whatever it takes" is the foreboding message that serves as both motivation for the hard-nosed Fit NHB fight team and as a warning for their opponents.
It’s been the slogan for success that has driven Albuquerque’s own Amber Brown to three impressive wins in Invicta FC’s atomweight division and a shot at the gold belt she’s ready to do whatever it takes to wear.
“It’s been our motto since day one,” Brown said. “It’s whatever it takes to get ready, to go out there and to get the win. Whatever fight I’m going into, I view it as the fight of my life. We have been doing extra rounds, but I usually do more than just three five-minute rounds, anyway. We’ve been upping the rounds and the intensity, but we always train hard. It’s not just any other fight because it is the fight of my life. It’s the world championship. I will be in the best shape of my life come March 11th.”
A mother, wife and owner of a 6-1 pro record, “The Bully” has done whatever it takes to climb the Invicta FC ranks. Brown’s victories in the company have all been quite different from each other, with a three-round war against Liz McCarthy, a quick beatdown of Catherine Costigan that ended with a rear naked choke and, most recently, a slick guillotine choke of Shino VanHoose in January.
Having only made her professional debut in November 2012, some may wrongly assume a main event battle for the belt against Invicta FC atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki would be too soon for the 27-year-old Brown. But she has been fixated on and ready for this title try before her last one-sided outing.
“Honestly, I felt like I was deserving of a title shot before that [VanHoose] fight,” Brown said. “[Invicta FC] wanted me to have another showcasing and that’s why they had me have that one more fight. In my opinion, I thought I deserved the title shot before that last fight. I felt like my win in Japan kind of skyrocketed me into the rankings, which was cool. Then I got signed with Invicta and I feel like I had proven myself twice within the promotion. I felt like there was really no one ahead of me more deserving of the shot.”
New Mexico's @thebully505 is determined to take the atomweight title home this Friday at #InvictaFC16!
A photo posted by Invicta Fighting Championships (@invictafc) on Mar 9, 2016 at 7:24pm PST
At Invicta FC 15, she made short work of VanHoose. After a couple minutes of embodying her nickname, Brown did get lost in the moment and got tripped to the ground by VanHoose, but she immediately locked on a guillotine choke to force the tap once they hit the floor. Wherever the fight goes, Brown’s ability to generate solid offense everywhere has kept her undefeated in Invicta FC.
“We had been trying to focus on my hips and not getting reversed and tripped,” she said. “But I knew I had it and I should have been more aware of that trip. I just work so hard at the gym all the time and I expect the fights to last the full 15 minutes or, now, 25 minutes, but it’s way cooler to get the finish that quick. I’m always ready to go out there to put on a show and to put on a fight. I’m always going out there for war. I think that’s what separates me from a lot of the other girls. I don’t want to go in there and play a point game or just pitty-pat. I want to go in there and finish you and do damage. I think fans can expect entertainment and a good fight every time no matter what.”
Up next, The Bully heads to Las Vegas for a championship collision with Hamasaki at Invicta FC 16. With a stellar 12-1 pro record, the former Jewels standout in her native Japan is the current Invicta FC atomweight champion after earning a split decision win over Brazilian grappling ace Herica Tiburcio last July. The fourth woman to wear the Invicta FC’s 105-pound belt also happens to own a win over Emi Fujino, who is the lone fighter to defeat Brown.
“I think she’s a great fighter,” Brown said. “I have a ton of respect for her.”
Getting Brown ready for her first title fight is the tough and tested talent of her hometown’s Fit NHB gym, also known as the New Mexico WildBunch. Under the watchful eyes of coaches Tom Vaughn, Arlene Sanchez and Jon Judy, Brown is kept busy tangling with sparring partners like unbeaten amateur Austin Lewis, who has been tasked to mimic her Invicta FC opponents, which he’s done successfully, as Brown’s record suggests.
This Friday on UFC FIGHT PASS, Brown clashes with Hamasaki with the atomweight championship on the line. The Bully has her sights set on gold and will do whatever it takes to claim it.
“I go in there to do damage,” Brown said. “I go in there and do whatever it takes to dominate in a devastating fashion. Honestly, I don’t think she’s fought anybody like me. I know she’s going to be strong just from seeing her hold Herica down pretty much for five rounds, but I’m just a really bigger and stronger 105er. I really think I’ll be stronger in all aspects. I’m going to go in there and I’m going to do damage. It’s just going to be a really great fight, whether she gets finished in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth or it’s a decision. It’s going to be entertainment the whole time.”