Aces’ center Carolyn Swords stopped by the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas last week to train with strawweight Michelle Waterson prior to UFC 229. LasVegasAces.com caught up with Carolyn to find out what the experience was like
What did you know about UFC before heading to their performance institute last week?
Honestly, I didn’t know very much. I am familiar with some of the athletes, and I knew that UFC is different from boxing in that it is mixed martial arts. I have seen one or two fights on TV, but other than that, I was a total novice.
You are from Massachusetts which is home to a number of famous boxers, including the likes of Rocky Marciano and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler. Had you ever strapped on a pair of gloves before last week?
I had not! My days have mostly been filled with basketball, whether in the WNBA or for a team overseas. It was great to have the time to try something new!
Michelle Waterson was your trainer for the day. What can you tell us about her?
I recognized Michelle the moment I met her because in addition to being a UFC fighter, she has appeared in a few reality TV shows, been in ESPN’s The Body Issue, and even acted in a music video.
Michelle was the perfect trainer! She did a great job explaining each move, demonstrating proper technique, and paying attention to each detail that would ensure I was executing each move correctly. Michelle’s energy and excitement made the whole experience a lot of fun!
And if you were watching UFC 229 over the weekend, you got to see her win her match. I will definitely be following Michelle’s career from now on.
What was the most challenging aspect of the UFC training?
The training was truly a full body workout. While I was trying to learn the technique, I was also trying to remember to stay in a proper stance, keep my other arm in the right place, keep my core strong, etc. Essentially trying to be mindful of all of the different components of a proper move without compromising its execution, which is pretty similar to basketball!
What did you enjoy the most about the UFC training?
After getting the hang of a few of the moves, I was really excited to see that there are aspects of the UFC training that are helpful in basketball: reaction time, explosive movement, staying light on your feet … I would love to try and add some of this to my off-season training!
Any chance we will see you competing in UFC 230?
I think I need a few more training sessions with Michelle before I can answer that!