Westside Power Gym’s Lindsay Jones is an imposing fighter with a physique that most women do not possess. While she indeed has the “brawn” she definitely also has the “brains” as well. She took the time to catch up with SWFight.com and let us dig into her mind to cover topics ranging from her strength training to gender roles in the gym and in MMA. When you take the time to capture the essence of a fighter’s mentality you will quickly come to find a more intimate aspect to combat sports.
New Mexico is well-known as being a legitimate hotspot for the movement of women mixed martial artists throughout the world. The state has sent their women fighters all over the country and to as far as Japan and our talented women have made their mark every where they have visited. Currently, New Mexico can boast to housing an Invicta FC Champion, the hottest WMMA name not currently in the UFC and one of the most potent regional roster of women fighters.
One of those women fighters trains in Rio Rancho at the Westside Power Gym and is ready to stamp her amateur career in March before turning professional. Lindsay “The Amazon Barbie” Jones is definitely part of the line-up of women fighters in New Mexico who possesses the talent to make her mark in WMMA.
While her amateur record (2-2) may not tell the whole story, in over three years Jones has fought four-times in three different states. That type of experience isn’t common amongst the amateur ranks and that may be a huge factor heading into a possible professional career.
One of the most interesting dynamics in MMA today is the integration of male and females being able to train together for competition. While Women’s MMA is growing at a rapid rate, there is still a large discrepancy in numbers favoring male athletes. In every MMA gym, you are likely to find a few women fighters but the comparison to the males is hardly ever close to being equal. In fact, Lindsay Jones trains in the Westside Power Gym run by Rocky Ramirez where the competition team is dominated by males.
Jones on the dynamic of training with male teammates:
Westside Power Gym’s fight team is truly a family dynamic. I just happen to have a bunch of big brothers that treat me like a fellow brother. There is absolutely no down side to training with these monsters. Male or female, every training partner brings something different to the table. Training with guys has made me more technical in my game. I’m a big strong girl, and where I can use strength a lot of times with females, I cannot do that with the guys.
Speaking about the dynamic, we have a small group of fighters, which is much different than it was at Jackson’s but it works well because we are dedicated to each other’s success.
There is and always has been discussion about women training with men and men training with women. The discussion typically focuses upon the question of “who benefits more?” and “can women and men train together without the inclusion of gender roles?”. While we live in a society that has become much more accepting and willing to fight for equality, gender roles still play a huge part in sports.
One of the definitive benefits for women that train with men is that they will be often accustomed to training with very strong teammates and when they take that into live competition, strength will rarely ever be a deciding factor for the conclusion of the fight. Sometimes however, a very strong woman who is able to develop that strength in the gym and carry it into the cage, will find that strength can play a major role in fights. Jones, whose nickname is the “Amazon Barbie” surely knows a thing or two about strength.
Jones on strength training, her nickname and how training with men has an effect on fighting:
This is actually how I got my fight name of the “Amazon Barbie”. A few years ago, after a Jiu Jitsu class this guy came over and said, “You walk-in with your dress on and look like a Barbie doll, but then you train like an Amazon. It is always like that with new guys, they are very delicate until they realize there is nothing delicate about me and if they don’t give me all that they got, they’re going to get beat by a girl.
The guys at WPG (Westside Power Gym) though, they don’t even see a gender anymore. It’s all our war! And no matter what said I come out in the exchange, truly I win. Just getting to train with these guys I win. Constantly training with guys bigger and stronger forces me to improve everyday. It’s the perfect situation for me.
I’m very fortunate that I started strength training at a very young age. 20 years ago, coaches didn’t really know how to work with female athletes or tailor a strength and conditioning program to a sport or position. It was simply lift as heavy as you can until it falls on you, and the conditioning was trying to get out from under it! From that, I took away an incredible amount of strength.
Now however, as a fighter, strength can be a double-edged sword. Before, I found myself relying on my strength instead of perfecting technique. That works, but good Lord would I gas quick! Being at WPG, I have to get the technique right. I can’t let myself get into a bad situation because powering my way out of it didn’t work. Working with them and their strength does make me physically stronger while having to clean up my technique and be smarter.
I have seen myself improve so much in the last year just being forced to be more technically sound. Strength and technique is a deadly combination.
WMMA has come along ways since the time where women’s MMA was considered a novelty and not ready for mainstream audience. New Mexico has been a huge part of the revolution and emergence of the female athletes as Albuquerque trained Julie Kedzie was one of two women to be featured in the first ever WMMA bout on network television and Michelle Waterson became the first major WMMA Champion in 2013.
Jones on the progression of WMMA:
In the time I’ve been training, WMMA has gone from novelty to mainstream. It’s respected, it’s wanted. WMMA is now main events and co-main events. Before that, when I told people what I did, the one response I often received was, “Why?”. Now it’s long conversations about “How I got into it, what training is like, when is my next fight?”. People are excited about MMA now.
At first (when asked why she’d compete in MMA) I was always insulted and got defensive. Then I got used to it and took it as an opportunity to share my sport with those who were ignorant about it. It was a gender thing, I always heard, “Why would you do that, that’s not very lady-like?” or comments like, “I’d watch you roll around with another girl maybe a boob will pop out.”. I really didn’t think that the mentality would change but I am so glad I’ve been proved wrong.
I knew WMMA would eventually become accepted, it was going to take something big to make people take notice though. And when those first ladies got their chance to be televised, they showed the world what women had to offer the sport. There are just so many talented women in this sport past, present, and future, there is no end in sight.
Indeed, Jones would be proved wrong as 2012 started opening up the doors for WMMA to make a major move and in 2013, the women blew the door off the handles and made their presence known. The emergence of WMMA in the mainstream can be immediately attributed to the stardom that Ronda Rousey has captured and the amount of popularity she has earned outside of the typical MMA media. While Rousey’s name and role as the ambassador for WMMA has been questioned and debated, Jones feels like Rousey is a positive influence to how people perceive WMMA.
Jones on Rousey and her influence on WMMA:
(On the time when WMMA had its turning point) When a beautiful, strong women (Ronda) was technically destroying women on a big stage and Dana (White) saw that it could sell. It’s (WMMA) being represented exactly as it should be, women with beauty, brains and grace who glove up, fight with skill and passion.
While Jones definitely has her knowledge of WMMA on point, the question I find most intriguing about WMMA is how the women involved got involved with the sport. Were they brought up in a martial arts background or did something in their life push them towards competitive combat sports? WMMA fighters like Ronda Rousey and her last title challenger Sara McMann grew up in their respective martial arts disciplines (Judo, Wrestling) and others prominent WMMA athletes transitioned into training through other scenarios. So exactly, how did the “Amazon Barbie” get into MMA?
Jones on her sporting background, her entrance into MMA training and what she loves most about competing in combat sports:
I grew up playing softball. I pitched through high school, got a scholarship, pitched in college, then it was just over. I needed something to turn my competitive nature to, and I wanted to try a martial art. I looked into some different disciplines and BJJ was where I decided to start. A couple of years later I decided it was time to evolve, and started training kickboxing at a school. I loved the stand up game, but where I was at was not right for me. A friend of mine knew Rocky, he gave me Rocky’s info and we started training together. He got me my first smoker and I fell in love.
(On what’s best about competing)Rocky says it best, fighting, being in the cage, is the closest you get to God.
Fighting has an intensity that no other sport has. two people are standing face-to-face with the sole purpose of beating the other unconscious. You walk into the cage with a mouth piece and 4oz gloves, and this is done by choice! It’s a spiritual moment that can only be experienced. I’ve never been able to describe the feeling.
That passion is what separates athletes in my opinion; there is a special group of individuals who have a strong passion that really standout in the crowd. Out of hundreds of fighters training in the New Mexico region, it can be very easy to blend in to the masses. Jones definitely has the mental aspect of combat sports very refined and anytime you see the type of emotion she describes, you have the right combination and mixture for a very special athlete. There are going to be dozens upon dozens of people with the physical tools to compete and what sets people apart are the intangibles that come with mental, emotional and spiritual preparations.
In her concluding words, Jones made sure to show appreciation for her team and support system. Her humble attitude definitely reared itself plenty and we encourage fight fans to follow Lindsay in her MMA endeavors and show their support. Jones is scheduled to fight in late-March in her fifth amateur bout and with a win, fight fans may be seeing her join the professional ranks in the near future.
Jones sharing a closing statement:
I wanted to say that fighting really is a team sport. The fighter gets the win or loss but there is a whole team behind that fighter that spends weeks getting them ready. I can’t imagine being more ready for a fight and I only have Rocky and my the team at Westside Power Gym and Clube de Jiu Jitsu gym to thank. Those men have embraced me as a sister and trained with me like a brother. A fighter is nothing without a team and I sincerely appreciate everyone one of those guys for trading punches with me, and my coach Rocky for taking me to a new level.