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I read reviews from other sites and they all raved about Rebecca Heintzman. They all predicted big things for her. Four years later we are seeing these predictions come true.
REBECCA “THE PROFESSOR” HEINTZMAN
ARTICLE BY JASON ADAMS
March 24th, 2012, that was the day I covered NAAFS Combat Challenge 19. What I remember about the card was a fight between Rebecca Heintzman and Roya Darvishian. What I remember is two female amateurs making their debut having the best fight on the card. I said right after that those two were going to do big things. Rebecca won a split decision. I read reviews from other sites and they all raved about Rebecca. They all predicted big things for her. Four years later we are seeing these predictions come true. But how did we get here?
Rebecca became someone I followed closely after that fight. Learned more about her outside of the cage as well. I learned about why she was called the professor, as she was in college and working on making that title into a profession. She was training for fights while also studying and doing things that quite honestly I couldn’t even understand or sometimes even pronounce. It showed the level of her intelligence and I felt it played a part in her early MMA success. She not only brought skill to the cage, but used that intelligence to her advantage, an ability to break things down that not everyone can do, analyze things you could say. In addition to the obvious hard work and dedication, I learned about her respect for both the sport and her opponents. In subsequent interviews with Rebecca, she would never trash talk an opponent, showed them respect and never underestimated them, she was confident but not cocky. All in all, she was someone I felt was a great role model and asset to the sport, a break from the false myth that fighters were dumb, mean, or any other adjective the uninformed wanted to use to describe fighters.
Rebecca went undefeated in her amateur career. Six bouts, six wins, in each fight, taking the fight where she wanted to take it. She sort of did the Ronda Rousey thing in that, you knew Ronda was going for the armbar, yet you couldn’t stop it. If Rebecca wanted to take you down, you were going down, if Rebecca wanted to fight in the clinch, get ready cause you were fighting in the clinch. She ended her amateur career by winning what at that time was considered a prestigious amateur title, for the NAAFS, winning a unanimous decision over Rachel Sazoff. It was a hard fought contest but there was no doubting Rebecca was the winner.
Coming off the title victory it was time to go pro as Rebecca had nothing more to prove in the amateur ranks. She made her pro debut on October 26, choking out hard hitting Allison Haynes in the second round. More people started to take notice, she was no longer winning fights in regional promotions in the amateur ranks, she was now a pro, winning in the same manner as always. Next up was a split decision victory in a rematch with Rachel Sazoff. People noticed she wasn’t just good, but she was also an exciting fighter. Throughout her pro career she has only lost once, to Katlyn Chookagian, a decision loss to a naturally much larger fighter who herself has never tasted defeat.
Rebecca moved to China, where in addition to training and fighting, she teaches English and Boxing to children. Continuing what she has always been, dedicated and hard working. The only negative is she sort of fell of the radar among American fans who couldn’t follow her career in such a far away land. Until now…..
Rebecca has signed a multi-fight deal with ONE Championship, a very prestigious Asian MMA promotion and makes her debut on February 20th against rising star Angela Lee. A win over Lee will make a huge statement about Rebecca, her skill level and where she belongs amongst the best in her weight class. An opportunity for a much larger fan base to see what some of us have known for a long time. Rebecca may have fallen off the radar after her move, but she has not stopped, has gotten better and better and we will see the best Rebecca yet. It will be step one in Rebecca showing she can hang with anyone in her weight class.
On a personal level, it was great for me, having covered her first fight, followed her career so closely, when Rebecca approached me about managing her. To be able to be a part of the career of not only a talented fighter, but a special young woman. Rebecca is someone you can point to when you want to use an example of what is good about the sport of mixed martial arts. To be given the honor of being a part of that is very special to me. To know Rebecca Heintzman is to love Rebecca Heintzman and now in a huge spotlight, more and more people will know and therefor love her. Anything can happen in a fight, you know the clichés, like “everyone has a game plan till they get punched in the mouth”, but if Rebecca does what she is capable of, I have no doubt she can make a huge statement in this bout and move on to bigger and bigger things.