Jocelyn Lybarger is preparing to make her professional debut at Invicta Fighting Championships 2 on Saturday, July 28. To prepare for her big day, Jocelyn has spent the last seven weeks training with UFC lightweight champion, Ben Henderson and his fight team at The Lab in Arizona.
Training at The Lab in Arizona with UFC champion Ben Henderson
"I train with Ben every day, Monday through Saturday. I train with him in the morning (9:00-11:00) and in the afternoon 3:00-5:30). I work with his head coach, John Crouch, too."
During her 9-5 working life, Jocelyn trained before work and after work. Now, she trains 4.5 hours a day and takes power naps in between work outs. "...I was with Verizon Wireless for almost five years before I decided to quit and train full time."
Jocelyn has full support from her family and feels fortunate to be able to quit her full time job and switch to training full time. In addition to training, Jocelyn continues to work with her two favorite charities, "My twin sister, Jill and I are ambassadors for Autism Speaks and It Ain't Chemo."
Lybarger has trained at The Lab in Arizona for her entire eight week fight camp leading up to her pro debut against Cheryl Chan, her opponent at Invicta FC 2.
Prior to training with Henderson's fight team at The Lab, Jocelyn trained at Seige MMA in Peoria, AZ. "I knew The Lab would be a better fit for me and I already knew a lot of people there. They have what I need to take the next step moving from amateur to pro. The whole team...we all push each other and train hard together."
Jocelyn said that working with UFC champion, Ben Henderson, has helped make her a better person both physically inside and outside of the gym.
She tweeted a photo of the team, "Team picture! http://pic.twitter.com/N0cyFijZ". Benson is front and center looking sharp in a suit and tie. Jocelyn is standing behind the man with his hands in his pockets and wearing spectacles.
Preparation for Cheryl Chan and Five Minute Rounds
Moving from amateur to professional means both Cheryl Chan and Jocelyn Lybarger are moving from two or three minute rounds to five minute rounds. "I have a great strength and conditioning coach. I also do a lot of cross fit. I'm a really aggressive fighter and I like to move forward. I'm more than just a wrestler. I have a great Muay Thai coach too. I feel like it's going to be a war between me and Cheryl. She's very athletic and competitive. I'm excited that my pro debut will be against her."
Jocelyn started training in MMA in February 2009.
Jocelyn, who has fought at 115 and 125, intends to continue fighting at the heavier weight. "I feel more comfortable at 125," she said and added that she walks around at about 130 lbs. Cutting weight isn't a problem for her and with only a few pounds to worry about, she said that it doesn't impact her game or her stamina.
What about Ronda Rousey?
Moving up to 135 to fight for Strikeforce and potentially face current champion, Ronda Rousey, is out of the question for Jocelyn. She said she's content to fight for Invicta on their all-female cards. Lybarger currently has a three fight contract with Invicta Fighting Championships (IFC).
Jocelyn is proud to be a part of this trail blazing organization, "...The way Invicta is moving, they're doing big things for women's MMA...I think Ronda Rousey is doing all great things for women's MMA too. I've met her a few times. She is someone good to look up to. She's trained at the highest level--on the USA Olympic team. She dropped down to fight Miesha [former Strikeforce champion]--people thought she wouldn't make weight. People want to talk about all she does is armbar. Everyone she's beaten--can't get out of her armbars, so she's doing great things."
Jacob "Stitch" Duran is one of Jocelyn's Cornermen
Jocelyn "Lights Out" Lybarger, age 26, currently holds the Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Championship Belt, but she will be giving that belt up because she is turning pro.
Watching the video of her Tuff-N-Uff championship fight against Ashley Yoder, I was surprised to see famous cutman, Jacob "Stitch" Duran, working Jocelyn's corner. video
Jocelyn explained that she met Stitch almost three years ago and they really hit it off. He agreed to participate with the It Ain't Chemo auction, "He helped raise a lot of money...We've built a great friendship. I'm blessed to have him in my corner. He's going to be at Invicta too."
Invicta FC 2: Shayna Basler vs Sara McMann
Jocelyn's debut as a professional MMA fighter will take place at Invicta FC 2 on July 28, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas.
"Invicta is run by two great women--Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin. Shannon had a vision. She manages Invicta and she hired the right team. She worked for Zuffa--she worked for Strikeforce. She's respected by both men and women fighters. She knows what she's doing...It's a great stage for women's MMA."
The first Invicta show generated over 250,000 views from around the world.
"Invicta is going to be shown online again, live and free. You can watch the weigh-ins on Friday (July 27) and you can watch the whole fight card live. Who else does that? I will not be surprised if Invicta has a TV contract for Invicta 3 in October or Invicta 4 after the new year. It's going up from here...I'm happy to be on this ride."
Jocelyn is sponsored by FightChix, Ryu (Respect Your Universe) clothing, ItAintChemo.com and autismspeaks
Source: interview with Jocelyn Lybarger by phone, InvictaFC.com, sherdog.com
More from this contributor:
Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. Currently, she trains with Keith Florian and has trained with UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny
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