‘Overcoming Being Afraid’ – How Alyse Anderson’s Love Of Motocross Molded Her Into An MMA Star
When she’s not in the training room or battling the world’s best martial artists in the ONE Circle, atomweight MMA phenom Alyse Anderson can typically be found on the motocross track, chasing the thrill of high-flying dirtbike racing.
On May 5 at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video, “Lil’ Savage” will trade her racing helmet for 4-ounce gloves when she squares off with the division’s #1-ranked contender, Stamp Fairtex.
Set to go down at 1stBank Center in Colorado at ONE’s historic debut on U.S. soil, that showdown will be the biggest fight of Anderson’s career, and she’ll be relying on lessons learned from a lifetime in motocross to help her overcome the nerves surrounding such a big opportunity.
The American first became interested in dirtbikes as a young child in Michigan after watching her neighbors buzz around their homemade track.
After begging her parents for a bike of her own, her dreams finally came true, as she was gifted a simple set of wheels designed for basic trail riding. Looking back, Anderson says it was absolutely perfect:
“I took that trail bike and put all race parts on it, which is like the goofiest thing you can do, but I did not care. At that time I didn’t know anything. I was 7 or 8 years old.”
Anderson was immediately hooked and soon convinced her parents to allow her to compete. The youngster’s first race did not go as planned, though.
A head-over-heels crash left her crying, but that did nothing to shake her pride, excitement, and sheer joy of racing – a feeling she still holds today:
“I got back on the bike, and I was just bawling my eyes out when I finished. I didn’t care, I had a trophy this big that I still have. I was so happy.”
Through her teenage years, “Lil’ Savage’s” natural athleticism began to show, as she became more and more involved in competitive soccer – a sport she would continue to play during college.
Afterward came her career in professional MMA, but the 28-year-old has never stopped using the heart-pounding activity of motocross as a way to escape the mental stress of high-level fighting:
“So at the time, motocross was kinda like my escape from the pressure of the soccer field, which compared to now, I think it’s funny because there’s like no pressure there compared to fighting. But for me growing up, that was always a thing, and now I have it because there is a lot of pressure in this job, and I get to look forward to it after this fight.”
How Motocross Helps Anderson Avoid Key Mistakes In MMA
In many ways, motocross has pushed Alyse Anderson to become the world-class mixed martial artist she is today.
Beyond the unique athleticism required to race and jump a speeding dirtbike around an off-road track, motocross demands an extreme level of self-confidence and an ability to face one’s fears.
When she takes on Thai megastar Stamp Fairtex at ONE Fight Night 10, the American rising star will lean on many of the attributes she developed on the track – experiences she believes goes hand-in-hand with MMA:
“With riding and stuff, a lot of it is just overcoming being afraid because when you’re afraid, that’s when you’re gonna make mistakes. That’s when you’re not gonna be sure of yourself and if you’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t wanna hit that rock,’ you’re probably gonna hit the rock because that’s what you’re thinking about.
“Same with fighting. I feel like saying, ‘I don’t wanna get tired in this fight.,’ you’re gonna get tired because that’s what you’re focusing on. So being able to channel like, ‘Okay, I’m really nervous for this,” but I’m doing all of this to prepare, so that when the fight comes, I won’t be nervous about getting tired. I won’t be nervous about her takedowns. Because every single day, I’m practicing wrestling. Every single day, I’m doing what I can to get in shape, and that would be it for the same as riding.”