Lea Bivins might be making her pro MMA debut Friday, and without the benefit of an amateur career, but she’s far from a stranger to the world she’s jumping into.
Bivins has spent her life exposed to combat sports thanks in large part to her father, Anthony Bivins, who has six pro MMA fights and now is her head coach at the gym her family owns near Sacramento, Calif.
The 20-year-old started training when she was 5 and has childhood experience in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling and pankration. But now her focus is on MMA, and she’ll make her pro debut to kick off the ONE on Prime Video 3 card at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bivins (0-0) takes on Noelle Grandjean (3-0) to open the card at atomweight (115 pounds).
“I’m the first bout, so I get to set the card off and show everybody my skills and how hard I’ve been working,” Bivins told MMA Junkie Radio. “I do not have an amateur record. I decided to not go amateur and save my body for pros, so that way I have less of an injury rate. I’m starting in the game kind of young, so I’ll have multiple years to be able to be in the pro game, which I think is an advantage to me.”
Bivins was supposed to make her debut earlier this year, but had a ONE Championship fight fall out when her opponent missed weight and pulled out. So she’d like to get this first one out of the way, then maybe get another one in before the end of the calendar year.
After that, she wouldn’t mind getting some more work in with ONE’s first family, brother-and-sister champions Angela Lee and Christian Lee, in Hawaii.
But she said she prefers her family’s gym as her main training ground as opposed to the bigger-name teams where it’s possible to get lost in the shuffle.
“This year I’d like to go 1-0 or 2-0. Long-term, I’d like to start climbing the ranks of the atomweight division,” Bivins said. “There’s a lot of girls in my division – I think it’s one of the biggest divisions they have. So I’d like to start climbing the ranks.
“Long-term, I’d like to start training in Hawaii with Angela and Christian Lee, as well, getting a few more fight camps in with them, or just going over there and getting training in with them. That’s always great. I’d just like to be a really great fighter and just make a really big name for myself in the game.”
Check out the full interview with Bivins in the video above.