Name: Valentina Escobar
Location: Lampa, Santiago de Chile
Fighting out of: RFT - Renovação Fight Team
Weight Class: Strawweight (115 lbs)
Record / Accolades: 5-0 professional MMA record, Blue Belt in BJJ, Orange belt in Luta Livre
Favorite food: Carne Mechada with vegetables, Chilean Sushi,
Japanese sushi with only fish, pizza, Chinese food, Arab food
Can you share your journey into professional MMA? What motivated you to pursue this sport and how did you overcome the challenges along the way?
I have been on this Martial Arts path for more than 10 years. I started
practicing Judo as a child. I always dreamed of reaching the big leagues of this sport, but in Chile it is very difficult to stay in a sport like Judo since there is no support so that athletes can become professional and live 100% focused on training and competitions. When I turned 18 I had a serious injury that discouraged me from continuing practicing Judo since I was at my best and I was forced to stop training. After months of therapy and rehabilitation, I was able to train again but I no longer insisted on Judo and I wanted to try another sport, there I started training MMA but recreationally. I wanted to learn to throw punches and kicks since I found it very challenging. There, in a short time, I realized that MMA was the opportunity to fulfill my dreams and not waste all the years I trained in judo since this would serve as a basis for mixed martial arts.
Who were your role models or sources of inspiration when you started training Martial Arts? How do you hope to inspire the next generation of athletes through your journey?
As a sports reference I always greatly admired Ronda Rousey. She came from Judo just like me and was a revolution for Womens MMA. I saw many of her live fights on television and found it incredible what she was capable of doing. At that time, I thought it was impossible for me to train and compete in the MMA, but she did catch my attention. It was a very hard stage in my life, with a lot of frustration, which made me dare to try this sport recreationally and with the passage of time I have managed to do things that I previously thought were impossible. I hope to inspire the next generations to dream big and work hard for it. Know that from the sum of small acts they can achieve great things-- things they never imagined they were capable of doing.
Could you describe a typical day in your training routine? What aspects of your training do you think are crucial for young athletes to understand and embrace?
A typical day consists of three or four training sessions a day, one related to physical preparation and the others are technical training. I always try to organize myself to have at least one striking training (Boxing or Muay Thai) and one grappling training (Luta livre, BJJ or Wrestling) and I also do my MMA training. For this I have to get up early and go from one gym to another all day until night. I train at three academies and I have a team of six trainers who help me improve every day. It is constant work. With or without fight camp, you have to keep training. Each day training adds up. Repetition of technique is the only way to acquire it. I always say in this job there are no good days or bad days, only days. You can't give an advantage, trying hard and being consistent is the key in this sport.
Every athlete faces setbacks. Can you share a significant challenge you've overcome in your career and what lessons it taught you that could be valuable for aspiring fighters?
One of the biggest challenges I have overcome in my career was my
professional debut in an international company since in Chile I couldn't do amateur MMA fights and I didn't have the resources to go look for amateur fights abroad. When the opportunity arose to go make my professional debut in the United States against a girl who already had three professional fights, I felt a lot of insecurity and uncertainty but I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that. It was a tough fight with a lot of action. I made several mistakes but I never stopped fighting. We achieved victory but even more gratifying was the entire experience I had, which was fulfilling my dream of professionalizing my career and competing representing my country, something that would never have happened if I had refused due to the fear of losing. From there I learned to believe in myself and that each experience has emotions that one does not expect to experience. You cannot say no to an opportunity for fear that things will not
happen as you expect.
How has your team, coaches, family, and community played a role in your career? What message would you like to share to others about supporting young combat athletes?
Each one has a fundamental role. First, there is my family. At first they did not like me training, and even less fighting, but over time they realized that this is serious for me and now they support me in each of my decisions. They understand that many times I cannot be at family events or trips because I can't miss my workouts. Usually I see them little because I leave early in the morning and come back at night, but they know how I am. They always give me words of encouragement which is very motivating because I have seen their change of attitude and I feel that they are also proud of all my achievements.
Second is my team of coaches and training partners/brothers who are my second family. They are the ones who give me their time to help me improve and live each process with me as if they were their own. It is very important that others understand what this means to you. It's not just training and fighting, it is my entire life. It has been years of betting my life and my full time to achieve my dreams. It is not a game, it is not a hobby, so you should give it the importance it has for you.
What advice would you give to young students or up-and-coming athletes who dream of becoming professional fighters? How can they apply the attributes essential in fight preparation and competition to their everyday lives?
One piece of advice for young people is to believe in their potential and work hard to improve. There are difficult days, but the satisfaction of living doing what you love is much greater than any fatigue. Martial Arts are a beautiful, endless path where you can always improve and learn new things.
With an impressive undefeated professional record, Escobar heads back into combat next Saturday January 20th at UAE Warriors 46 in Abu Dhabi.
The fight will be available on UFC Fight Pass 👊 We look forward to seeing you in action. It'a an honor to welcome you to the Buctown Fight Fam🔥