Saturday, May 7th Colleen Schneider will have her shot at the Invicta FC bantamweight title against Tonya Evinger. Evinger is riding an eight-fight winning streak, her last loss coming from Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann in 2011.
With the success of the women’s bantamweight division in the UFC, many MMA spectators have had a keen eye on Invicta’s bantamweight division, often seeing it as a feeder league to the UFC. For those who were not watching closely enough, Colleen Schneider’s sudden title challenge may come as a shock. The last time she appeared in the Invicta cage was early in 2015 against Irene Aldana where she suffered a submission defeat in 1:05 of the first round.
Undeterred, Schneider kept active. “I like to fight,” she said. “I chose to go out and take any fight I could get to stay active.” The large talent roster of Invicta coupled with the fact that they have fewer events than some of their competition, Schneider knew she had to go out and make her own opportunities.
Most of those opportunities presented themselves last minute. When she fought Aldana, it was on very short notice. In fact, being rushed into a fight seems to be a very defining characteristic of her career over the last year. “I took two of my fights in 2015 on less than two weeks notice. My Invicta fight [against Raquel Pa’aluhi] I was a replacement, but even still I had four weeks notice to prepare. Given that I’m always training and always in-shape, and that was a whole lot more than two weeks notice, it didn’t cause me any problems at all.
“My training camp has been more structured this time, since I knew I was fighting Evinger more than two months out. That gave me plenty of time to work on the technical aspects of my game that I wanted to focus on, as well as build up my strength and conditioning for a potential five-round fight.”
Considering the accomplishments Schneider has reached with minimal preparation time, it should make for quite an interesting fight now that she has had time for a full training camp. When we asked about her predictions for Evinger she told us, “Evinger is a very tough and strong opponent. She wins by pressuring people forward, getting in on her takedowns, and grinding them out on the ground. Pretty simple. Good movement shuts her offense down. I also think this fight is a good opportunity for me to show my wrestling game is strong.”
Schneider’s wrestling game has grown leaps and bounds since she switched to CSW and away from Syndicate. It’s improved so much that she has since won a world championship in Submission Grappling as part of Team USA Wrestling. She has also been the Super Fight League flyweight and bantamweight champion. For anyone who has followed Schneider’s career, it is apparent that her striking game and her grappling game have come together almost seamlessly. Her work inside the cage looks better than it ever has and she now has a chance to add yet another world title to her already impressive resume.
When asked if she was looking ahead to the UFC if she wins her next fight her response was, “It could happen, but that isn’t necessarily a goal. If the opportunity to fight in the UFC presents itself, I’ll deal with that when it happens.”
We wish Colleen Schneider the best in her upcoming fight. You can watch it live on UFC Fight Pass.