Flyweight Miranda Maverick (6-2) faces former UFC fighter Pearl Gonzalez (10-4) in the co-main event against Pearl Gonzalez at Invicta FC 39 on Feb. 7, the 22-year-old Missouri native once again becomes the underdog against another veteran.
“For me, their time kind of ran through and it’s my time to shine. Most of these older women that I’ve already fought had their chance in the UFC,” Maverick said. “Now they are coming back to Invicta because that’s what they have left and still like fighting.”
“I’m just getting started. They are at or past their prime. They have more experience than me and the fact that I can hang with them and even beat them at this point, and I got so much to learn. I’ve only been training for four years.”
The flyweight saw herself pictured as the underdog in just about every fight. Even in the Phoenix Series 2, she heard it in the commentary and hear it leading up to the fight, she added.
Maverick defeated DeAnna Bennett in the final round of the tournament, via rear-naked choke in the third round. She avenged the loss she had against Bennett at the beginning of last year.
“Beating Bennett felt like a cancellation of a loss so to speak. I was very happy because I can see that I’ve improved a lot,” Maverick said. “That’s the positive thing about being so young – it’s between fights I have room to improve.”
Maverick trained with broken ribs, as she prepared for her then first fight against Bennett.
“I was concerned I would have no training for wrestling or clinch and camp, but I never considered dropping out,” Maverick said. “I don’t like showing weakness and I would get upset when I’d have to take breaks from pain or losing breath and assumed adrenaline would take over in the fight.
“By the time of the fight, I still couldn’t do a sit-up or pushups because of the rib and torn intercostal muscle. Only my team was aware.”
Maverick joined The House of Muay Thai under Makens Semerzier three weeks before her initial bout against Bennett.
The flyweight showed her grittiness in her last fight, as Bennett tried to grind her on the cage as she did before. They worked on it and those holes weren’t there anymore, Semerzier said.
“Back then she was more of a grappler. She would wait and try to grab a hold of you and put you on the ground,” he said. “Now she’s added that other element where she now has cage work, cage awareness, more tactical game planning as far as kickboxing goes.”
“Normally Miranda can become nervous at times during training camp or anxious because she’s super committed. For this camp, the urgency is still there but it’s not as panic as it has been in the past. It’s very controlled and much focused. So I think the energy that was disbursed out randomly is now focused on the mission at hand.”
A title shot is on the line next month, but Maverick has been waiting on the call from the UFC. A win over Gonzalez, and then beating Vanessa Porto for the flyweight belt would give her the leverage to a UFC contract.
What if Dana White calls before her potential title shot?
“I would be ready for that opportunity. I’ve been seeking that opportunity for quite some time. There’s even a UFC fight coming to Norfolk,” Maverick said. “I literally live right beside the venue where it’s going to be at on Feb. 29.”
“I’ve been eyeing that, trying to get on that card. Obviously, that’s not going to happen, but they are still looking at me. I’m still going to go to those fights and talk to people. I’m hoping anytime they call me, whether it be short notice or try to promote me and get me in there. I’m ready for it.”
A few fights back, Maverick called out Pearl when she still had the belt. She didn’t get the title shot, but she said there wasn’t any harm to get her name out there.
“My skills are going to match up well. We are both well-rounded individuals in the fight game,” Maverick said. “I feel like I have certain specialties that she can’t match up to. I think my strength is going to take a toll on her.”
Invicta FC 39 takes place on Friday February 7, 2020, from the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, United States. The event will be aired live on UFC Fight Pass from 8pm EST.