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Angelica Chavez The South Valley’s Role Model

Angelica Chavez on Image, Faith and WMMA

When the primarily east coast based promotion Xtreme Fighting Championships called earlier this month to offer mixed martial arts fighter Angelica Chavez a five-fight contract, her father and manager Grandmaster Melcor Chavez responded to XFC representative with, “Are you sure?”

“I told him to just say ‘Yes’!” Chavez says she told her father of the contract offer.

After winning the first four fights of her career, Chavez (4-2) lost two straight, most recently coming off a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate bout against Ricdali Rivera-Calanoc at Invicta FC 4. The XFC told Chavez’ father that they were aware of the recent slide and wanted to sign her based off of talent and improvement she has shown even in her recent losses.

Angelica Chavez has trained in Kajukenbo her entire life.The 105-pound, atomweight fighter, has been trained by her father in Kajukembo her entire life. The hybrid martial art is a mixture of Karate, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Kempo Karate and Western Boxing. It is among the younger arts which was developed in Hawai’i in the late 1940’s.

When she joins the XFC, Chavez will be joining fellow Chavez Dojo teammate Joby Sanchez (4-0), who last year won an open-tryout that the promotion conducted. The fighters will serve as two of the leading figures in Kajukembo on a national scale.

“That’s what I like about the XFC,” says Chavez. “We don’t have too many female fighters so it will be great to fight alongside a teammate.”

Her father has been teaching the martial art at the family run gym –Chavez Dojo, in Albuquerque’s South Valley for nearly 40 years.

Locally, Chavez is the second biggest draw after pound for pound female boxing champion and mixed martial artist, Holly Holm. At a recent event Chavez’ gym sold 900 tickets to one of her fights. A large feat for someone still in the infancy of their career.

“I attribute it to our Dojo, my base. We are family-oriented,” says the 25-year-old Chavez. “It’s not just one teammate that comes to see me, it’s the teammate’s mom, dad and cousin.”

“I love it. That’s really one of the reasons I do fight is because I love that support,” Chavez continues. “It’s an awesome feeling.”

She also credits her Catholic faith for keeping her humble. For her professional Chavez leaving cage in a Virgen de Guadalupe sarape made by her mother.debut Chavez’ mother knitted a draping sarape with a graceful depiction of the Virgin de Guadalupe.

“There’s times where your training that you can break at any time,” says the 2005 St. Pius High School graduate. “MMA is so challenging–mind, body and spirit and I just think that spirit is one of the main things that you have to have and the virgen is definitely part of my culture.”

The part of Albuquerque where the gym is located sees it’s share of troubled teens and those looking to avoid the mean streets enter it’s doors. Approximately thirty percent of children under the age of 18 in the South Valley live below the poverty line. The gym run by Grandmaster Chavez for almost two generations has been a haven for those looking to avoid the area’s tribulation.

“I definitely like to be a role model for all the kids that come from the South Valley,” says Chavez. “Especially the girls. We have a lot of little girls that train with us. I just want to be a role model and to show them that you can go and do it and don’t have to lower your standard or your class like some of the other girls in MMA.”

About Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez is chief editor for SWFight.com, TV-Host of Combat Sports Weekly and Co-Host of Low Blow Radio. He can be reached on Twitter @JorgeDeBurque.