Alyse Anderson is one of the toughest female MMA fighters in the atomweight division, but like many other Americans, she deals with social anxiety. However, the martial arts star has found a unique way to manage it.
Whenever the 27-year-old begins training camp for an upcoming MMA fight, she enters something she calls “gangsta mode.”
In a new interview with ONE Championship, Anderson explained the science behind this coping mechanism:
“Well, I guess people who know me know I’m kind of like a softie. Like, I don’t like confrontation. I get anxiety doing small things, stupid things, like waiting in line at the grocery store, and it’s something I absolutely hate doing because it makes me so nervous. But [being in gangsta mode] just kind of means like buckling down, being tough, going hard in training, eating the right foods … it’s just being on your A-game and not letting little things bother you.”
This has certainly helped Anderson to stay focused, as she has earned five victories in her professional career and a spot in last year’s ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
There are instances when things admittedly get a little too heavy for “Lil Savage,” but fortunately, her manager, Brian Butler, provides words of encouragement and keeps her concentrated on her goals.
“When I have a fight, he’ll be like, ‘Ok, you have to go into gangsta mode now for x amount of weeks.’ Or if I’m crying on the phone, he’ll be like, ‘Ok, you can be upset for five minutes, but then you have to turn gangsta mode back on.’”
The Music That Helps Alyse Anderson Combat Social Anxiety & Enter Gangsta Mode
Alyse Anderson uses music to get into the zone and prepare for a long, hard training session. But as the martial arts star explains, there are different genres that help her get into the right mindset, as well as keep her in check.
“I call it gangsta rap, but my friends say it’s not gangsta rap because it’s like Drake (laughs), and I like R&B stuff. But I watch a lot of TikTok too, so I get a lot of songs off of TikTok that I’ll search for. Chris Webbie is one of my favorites, and those kind of rap songs. But when I’m training, I like to listen to slower music because I feel like it keeps my breathing down and my heart rate under control instead of the gangsta rap.”
Ultimately, she prefers the pop stylings of mainstream singer-songwriters like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, and she enjoys listening to that every moment she gets. But given their lyrical content and melodicism, she puts them on ice during her eight-week training camps.
“I like [Billie Eilish’s] stuff and the Taylor Swift type [of music]. All the lovey-dovey breakup music is what I listen to, but I do not let myself listen to that in camp. I’ll put it on for a second and make myself switch it because I’m like, ‘No, I’m in gangsta mode. I can’t go down that road yet.’”
And now that Anderson is in fight camp, fans can bet that the martial arts star is back in gangsta mode.