‘It Was All Very Fast’ – Why Victoria Souza Left An Accounting Career For MMA
Victoria Souza seemed destined for a career crunching numbers in the office, but an accidental brush with martial arts changed her life completely.
The Brazilian rising star – who returns to action against undefeated Indonesian juggernaut Linda Darrow at ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II on Friday, February 24 – was looking for a way to de-stress from the pressures of her work life, and combat sports offered her so much more.
Ahead of her second ONE Championship bout at the world-famous Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, find out how Souza stumbled upon MMA and swapped accounts for knockouts.
Early Life In Brazil
Souza was born in Florianópolis, Brazil, in 1997, where she lived in a busy home with her mother, father, grandparents, and uncles. “Vick” loved every minute of that seemingly hectic lifestyle, but she moved out when her parents were expecting her younger sister.
Still, she was raised by a supportive family, had everything she needed growing up, and enjoyed her childhood.
“My mother was a housewife and my father was starting to work in his own accounting firm. Everything was a little more difficult [during that period], but nothing was ever lacking for me or my sister. I never went through any kind of need in my childhood.
“I had many friends. We liked to ride our bikes, climb trees, and have picnics. Those were the things my friends and I loved to do most.”
Although her parents split up when she was 13, Souza didn’t experience any issues academically or socially after it. She had two more younger siblings from her mother’s side, and life carried on as normal at school.
Following in her dad’s footsteps as an accountant, she excelled in her studies and set the foundations for a career in a secure vocation.
“I don’t know if popular is the term, but I had a lot of friends at school. I was never bullied, but I also didn’t like anyone bullying anyone else.
“I’ve always been very studious. I was always among the top three grades in the class.”
Expecting Zumba, Getting Muay Thai
Souza flew threw her exams and studied accounting at college. In addition, she was working on the job at the same time to get first-hand experience.
However, this was quite a load, and in her late teens, “Vick” realized she needed a way to escape from the daily grind. She liked the idea of dancing her troubles away, so she went with her friend to a local gym that offered Zumba classes. But then, her trajectory took a different turn.
The Brazilian said:
“Work stressed me out a lot because accounting is stressful, so I wanted to do something to alleviate that stress. Me and another co-worker went to a gym that had a sign advertising dance classes. When we arrived at the gym, there was no dancing, only Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. Then, I ended up enrolling in Muay Thai.
“I had no intention of becoming a fighter. When I signed up for the gym, I just wanted to hit some pads and de-stress.”
After training at the gym for a while, one of the professional fighters invited her to try out some sparring, and that set the ball rolling for Souza.
“A while later, the academy had a team of professionals who trained in MMA. One day, Thiago Tavares jokingly called me to do some Muay Thai sparring. It was my first sparring practice, and I loved doing it.
“Then I sparred with a sparring partner and took him down. Then I thought, ‘If I could stay on the ground, it would be amazing!’ And that’s when I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, too.”
Breakout Success In Competition
The thrill of sparring quickly turned into a thirst for competition.
Souza initially started in kickboxing, where she amassed a slew of regional, national, and Pan-American titles. Getting her hand raised was the new motivation for the Double Attack representative, and accounting seemed much less fulfilling after that.
“My experience with striking was incredible. I won the state championship a few times, I was Brazilian kickboxing champion three times, and I fought at the Pan-American Kickboxing Championships in Mexico and was the champion.
“It was all very fast in my career. I found myself in martial arts and saw that this was what I wanted for my life. I love striking, I love fighting on the ground, and I love doing MMA.”
Although she knew what she wanted, it wasn’t easy to convince everybody else that pursuing MMA was the best option.
In fact, Souza’s parents were unsure and knew that it could be a volatile profession. “Vick,” however, was determined to follow her heart.
“Only now are my parents starting to support me. My grandmother always thought it was cool, but my parents were always very afraid that I would get hurt.
“My father used to say that I had to dedicate myself more to my career as an accountant than fighting because it would give me a better future and fighting is an uncertain thing. But my heart spoke louder, and I decided to pursue martial arts as well.”
Rising After The Fall
Though her opponent’s incredible submission skills took her to victory that night, the experience distilled in “Vick” that this was the career for her, even with its ups and its downs.
“I remember that fight a lot because besides being my first defeat in MMA, I left with a very serious injury. I tore the biceps muscle, two arm ligaments, and the tendons. This injury was right in the first round. She got an armbar, and I held on for a while and didn’t tap out. I heard my arm snap, but I decided not to tap because I wanted that win so badly.
“I came back for the second round, even without being able to move my left arm, and I tried to go until the end. If the referee didn’t stop the fight, I was going to try to come back for the third round.”
Now all healed up, Souza is ready to make her return against Darrow and prove to the world that she belongs among the sport’s elite.
And even though she exited the Circle with her first professional loss in her last outing, she’ll enter ONE Fight Night 7 with an unbreakable mindset and more determination than ever before.
“The lesson I learned, even with the defeat and the injury, is that I will never give up. I left the fight with even more certainty that this is what I want for my life. I really want to be a fighter and make a living from this sport.”