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After starting her career in her native Alaska and fighting for Alaska Fighting Championships, Lauren Murphy eventually made her way to Glendale, Arizona and The MMA Lab. At The Lab, Murphy rose to become Invicta FC bantamweight champion and punched her ticket to the UFC.
However, after 6 fights in the biggest organization in the world, Murphy decided it was time for a change. She and her family picked up everything and moved to Houston, which she now calls home sweet home.
“Leaving the Lab was a big deal for us. My husband was the GM there and I fought out of the Lab for a long time, but I wasn’t really having a lot of success there. I went 2-4,” Murphy said. “I love training in Houston. It’s the closest thing that’s felt like home to me since I moved out of Alaska.”
However, despite calling Houston her home, there isn’t really a gym that is a home base to her. Instead she’s put together a conglomeration of places that function as together as one.
“I actually train at a bunch of different gyms all over Houston,” Murphy explained. “My husband teaches at a Renzo Gracie [affiliate] out here, one of my coaches is a striking instructor at a Gracie Barra, and I also work with Bob Perez over at Main Street Boxing and Muay Thai.”
And while that may already seem like a lot, it doesn’t stop there for Murphy, who spends even more time travelling around the Houston area for her training.
“I have 3 different gyms that I go to and then a couple satellite gyms even outside of those that I’ll visit every once in awhile or drop into or go train at if there are people there I want to see or something specific that I’m trying to do out there,” she said.
But even with all of these different coaches, Murphy said her training is more cohesive than ever. For the first time she feels like she has a solid gameplan, that her striking instruction is advancing her game - and it’s all due to this unique situation.
“I’m blessed to have really good coaches that work together super cohesively. They didn’t even know each other until I moved to Houston,” she said explaining that they now regularly meet to work on plans for her. “They meet up and even though they’re from different gyms and they have different styles, they really respect one another and listen to each other. They are really good in my corner.”
The proof is in the pudding. After the aforementioned 2-4 record out of The Lab, Murphy came out and finished Mara Romero Borella in her first bout under her new coaches - with the finish coming from a well-timed knee and plenty of follow up strikes. She, of course, credits that to her new striking coaches.
“I don’t think I would have had that good of a performance anywhere else,” she said. “Like I said, I just click with these guys, they understand me, they really care about me.”
In addition to this change being about having new coaches, it was also about the people she was training with. While she points out that she loved her MMA Lab teammates, she notes that they knew her. The staleness of knowing exactly what she’d do, and vice versa, made it so that she felt she wasn’t getting better. As a result, her confidence took a hit.
“I think, more than anything, having that confidence going into my fights is the biggest game changer. For a long time I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be where I was at and that’s not a good feeling to have when you’re going into a fistfight,” she admits. “Looking back now, I know, I’ve always been good enough to be here - I’ve always been tough, I’ve always been scrappy. I’ve always been strong.”
She’ll need that confidence when she steps in with Andrea Lee on February 8th because, as she knows, Andrea Lee brings it.
‘She doesn’t break, she doesn’t back down… I’m expecting her to keep a super high pace,” Murphy said. She’s excited for that kind of fight though, because they lead to fight of the night bonuses, which she’s gotten in the past. And in her own words; “They’re addictive.”