On Saturday, May 3, local mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Maureen "Baby Face" Riordon will make her professional kickboxing debut with Glory Sports International, the top professional kickboxing league in the world. After being out of the fight scene for a year -- she was seriously injured while training someone else -- Riordon will not only be featured in the first-ever female fight for Glory, but be featured in her hometown, at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield.
Riordon began training in 2010, when she joined FusBoxe Mixed Fitness & MMA, a gym she now owns and where she also coaches. Overweight, out of shape and ready for a change, she started practicing kickboxing after a friend suggested it was a way to lose weight. While she didn't take it up intending to fight, within nine months she'd earned seven gold medals in No Gi grappling and had placed first and second in nationally ranked tournaments.
And while Riordon never imagined such an outcome in such a short time, in June 2011, her first amateur fight came through Sven Bean -- founder and promoter of Ring of Fire, one of the top MMA promotions in the U.S -- at Ring of Fire's Muay Thai Mayhem. It was right before that fight that she got the "Baby Face" nickname. After she did one of her first interviews, the author of the article called her Maureen, "the Baby Face Killer," and it stuck. Four years later, with three victories out of six fights, she is ready for her professional debut -- once again invited by Bean.
"It's a fantastic start. It's an honor to be offered such an opportunity, " Riordon says. And she is definitely not going to miss out: After being out of the ring for almost a year, between surgery and recovery, she has been preparing for eight weeks to reach her optimal athletic condition. Riordon is actually fighting at a lower class weight (135 pounds) than she used to, but she says she has never felt this stronger, faster and healthier.
But Riordon is more than a fighter. Outside the cage, she is a mom, a writer, a nutrition science student and someone who wants to inspired troubled kids -- that's the reason she started the #Never Give Up campaign.
"When I started, there was so many people who told me that I would never be able to go anywhere," Riordon recalls. That actually motivated to prove to herself and others that she could do it, and now she wants to show kids that they can do the same, by putting i the right amount of effort and self-discipline. "You can't just fight," she says. "I don't think there are so many people on this just to go and legally punch somebody in the face and be punched back. If you are, you are a really special kind of crazy. For the most part, there is something you want to do. And mine is to really do a push for kids and troubled youth and people that really need that inspiration to turn their lives around."
No matter how this fight turns out, Riordon knows it will be win-win. She will not only be recognized as a fighter, and she has already signed up three more fights with Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA). But most important, she will be able to reach out to people, pursuing her desire of getting into motivational writing and speaking.
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She plans on continuing to fight for another six years, combining that with her roles as a loving mother and wife. "I never had so much acceptance for who I am," Riordon says. "I don't have to always be this badass fighter who never shows fear or never shows emotions. And that's what makes my life happier, being able to be both the fighter and the female girl."
Glory 16 Fight will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3. Tickets prices range from $35 to $165; for more information, visit the Glory 16 Denver website.