It’s fight week in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and perhaps the only thing cooler than the snow flurries outside is the demeanor of Macy Chiasson.
Less than 24 hours removed from learning her original opponent, Nicco Montano, won’t be able to fight this Saturday, Chiasson handling the change with a savage mixture of confidence and nonchalance.
“When my coach called me (with the news), he’s like ‘Wow, you’re taking this very well.’”
But in the bantamweight’s mind, there was little reason to get shaken up about it.
“I’ve had a great camp. There really isn’t much to change. I’m ready to fight, so whoever they put in there, it’s the same result.”
While conceding it’s never ideal to have a late opponent change, Chiasson is able to point to the silver lining that this opponent hasn’t had much time to occupy her thoughts.
“I don’t have to think about it as much. I’ve had such a great camp. I feel so over-prepared in every single avenue. I’m just feeling very confident. I’ve very fortunate that they had someone who stepped up last minute. It’s not an easy thing for anyone. Especially when you step in and you haven’t had a camp. So I’m excited.”
That someone is UFC newcomer Shanna Young, who has fought for Invicta FC and appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series.
“So I watched a few of her fights…seems like a tough girl, very fit. But nothing I see that I don’t think I can handle.”
A quick look at Chiasson’s resumé, and it’s evident she can handle quite a bit. After winning The Ultimate Fighter 28, she followed up with show-stopping back-to-back TKO victories over Gina Mazany and Sarah Moras. Even in her lone professional loss, Chiasson went the distance with veteran Lina Lansberg and came away stronger for it.
“Honestly, I learned a lot about myself experience-wise, and being able to push the pace where needed. It wasn’t really that she was better than me, I just didn’t perform the way I wanted to perform. Sometimes when things don’t go your way, you have to work through it, sort it out - whether that’s in the cage or out of the cage. So I think I grew a lot, mentally, from that fight. I really needed something like that to push me to be better.
“My mental space, even the physical aspect is totally different. I feel like I’ve really one-upped since that fight. I’m really happy I was able to experience something like that to push me.”
It’s rare at best to hear a fighter say they were “really happy” for a loss, even if the end result was good. But the coolness and conviction in Chiasson’s voice confirms she really means it.
That attitude and spirit is a common thread among the athletes emerging from Fortis MMA, one of the hottest and most prolific gyms on the scene. But Chiasson insists there’s no Jedi mind tricks in coach Sayif Saud’s approach.
“The secret sauce is real simple: just work hard, train hard, and have the right mindset. Everyone in there has the same mindset, so we all push each other to be better. There’s nothing special about it, we don’t have a special combination. It’s real simple. Just work hard.
“Coach is very much a father figure to all of us. He’s the one who is always guiding us and motivating us to not only be a better fighter, but a better person. Any time we walk into that gym, we have to have the utmost respect for each other. It’s a discipline and it’s a part of life, it’s not just a part of fighting.”