Invicta is a Latin word that literally means unconquered or undefeated and was an inspirational motto used for hundreds of years when Rome was the Capital of the World.
New Zealands brightest International WMMA prospect Faith “The Immortal” Van Duin is about to step up to the biggest show in WMMA, Invicta Fighting Championships, the all-female MMA organisation that has recently garnered an affiliation from the UFC via UFC Fight Pass.
This is truly the big time and she’s debuting on the Main Card against a real veteran of Womens MMA, Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet.
I caught up with Faith shortly after touching down half a world away in Houston, Texas, USA.
#TheUW – Hi again Faith! Thanks heaps for catching up with me before your fight this weekend at Invicta Fighting Championships 10 in Houston, Texas! 1st of all, how was the flight? Who came out with you?
The flight was not too bad!
Long, but not bad. [smiles] It was the wait before my flight that was annoying. [laughs]
My mum flew out at 7.00am on Saturday, (29th November), so we left Papamoa (Tauranga, New Zealand) at 1.00am to get to the Airport for her flight. Then mine wasn’t until 12.00pm on Saturday.
We both had awesome flights and we’re now relaxing and enjoying Houston ! [smles]
My trainers Regy Yamat and Kelvin Joseph arrive tomorrow with my Uncle Dad.
#TheUW – What have you been doing since you touched down? Much time for tourist stuff?
Pretty much just relaxing went to Walmart today for food shopping and that place is huge!
Will be going back for Christmas gifts for my daughters [laughs] and will spend a lot of time walking around the city after medicals are complete!
#TheUW – Ok, now tell us about your next opponent Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet, what do you know about her?
All I know is that she is a Muay Thai Champion (record 11-1-1) with an MMA record of 6-4-0.
I’m looking forward to the fight with her. Its a really good challenge and I’m confident I can stop her! [smiles]
#TheUW – Where do you think your strengths are in this match up? Also, tell us about your fight-camp down at The Mount (Maunganui, Tauranga), any complications?
My strengths I believe will be that I’m well rounded and can take the fight where it needs to go!
The camp was crazy!
Just before I started, I had just changed gyms and that was a huge thing for me, but everyone has been so welcoming and awesome at Warrior Muay Thai, Hybrid MMA, Mount Marlin Wrestling and TKO Boxing .
I was travelling between 4 gyms so I was literally everywhere but each of those gyms have improved my skills so much its awesome!
This camp has been the best I have had so far.
#TheUW – One of your coaches is current Shurken NZ WelterWeight Champion Kelvin “Crazy Horse” Joseph. Last weekend, while you were in the air, I was lucky enough to be cage-side for a fight that he took on 4 days notice and still made weight easily. In that fight he looked every bit a Champion and was really a testament to the level of fitness and skill you guys have cultivated down there. What’s it like having 2 Champions training together and pooling the talent like that?
As soon as I landed I was looking for updates not just on Kelvin but 4 more of my other team mates were fighting on the same night – Carlos McDiarmid was on the same show as Kelvin and 3 in The Mount!
2 MMA wins at Shuriken NZ’s “It’s Time” and 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss at The Mount. The Muay Thai win was Tommy Wright who became the new WKBF LightCruiserweight Champion!
I’m so proud to be training with them not just because they are champions!
Win or lose, they are my family and team.
Its awesome to see that our training is working well, they definitely set the tone for my fight! [smiles]
#TheUW – Well if Kelvin and your other team-mates fights are a prelude to yours then I can’t wait to see your Invicta FC debut this weekend! What has been the biggest surprise for you during your trip so far? Anything really cool or funny happen?
The toilets are weird.
I went to the toilet in Los Angeles and they all were blocked..
Or so I thought! [laughs] But no! Thats how the toilets are here.. full.. and I don’t know why? So thats weird.
The people here are very lovely and friendly its so cool to see! [smiles]
#TheUW – What was it like getting to meet an icon of WMMA, Invicta FC match-maker and retired WMMA star, Julie Kedzie? Is she as nice in person as she seems on the IFC broadcasts? Does she always smile in real life?
[laughs] I first saw her when I went to the gym this morning.
I was so nervous and said “Hi!” [laughs] She was on the treadmill and offered to get off for me but I said “No, that’s ok!”.
Then I saw her again when I went to sort all my paperwork later in the day.
She is very nice. So genuine, helpful, happy and always smiling!
She even said “if you need anything at 2am, whatever time, just call!”.. So, so crazy!
Who is up at that time!? [laughs]
#TheUW – Is it real to you now? Now that you’ve touched down, done the paper-work, met the match-maker and (I assume) you’re in the middle of a weight-cut?
It is real.
I’m on such a high!
I’m too excited and happy to even worry about all the water I’m drinking and the food I cant eat! [laughs]
My goals are all coming together, how amazing is that!? [smiles]
It’s so awesome and very real.
#TheUW – Since you’re in Houston, Texas, USA.. Are you going to have anything weird for your after weigh-ins meal? There must be some crazy Steak-house where if you eat a 2KG steak you get your meal for free.. Do you have anything in mind?
[laughs] I’m waiting for my trainers to arrive and see what they want me to eat after weigh in.
I’Il still eat clean until after the fight. A 2kg steak won’t sit right when I’m in the cage. [laughs]
But, after the fight? Now that’s a different story! I will be eating all the weird and different things I can find over here! [smiles]
#TheUW – What’s the media schedule like for IFC athletes? You’re on the Main card if i remember rightly and it’s all going to be shown LIVE on UFC Fight Pass, do you have open workouts etc this week?
All that I know that we have on is that Wednesday (NZ time) we have a photo shoot and video shoot so that will be interesting!
Then weigh ins and the Post-fight Press Conference!
#TheUW – What’s it like knowing that millions of people all around the world are going to be tuned in to see your IFC debut via UFC Fight Pass?
Its scary but cool to think people from all around the world will see what a Maori Women from New Zealand can bring.
Im just excited to Represent New Zealand and my culture in front of the world.
#TheUW – Before you let NZ I heard a tale about how your Mum and Uncle had fundraised their ways to the US to support you, is that something you wanted to repeat? I think it’s an amazing story, alone with your own story of fundraising for your debut!
Yes that is correct! [smiles]
Mum has been baking Rewana Maori bread twice a week and selling it for around 5 months and Uncle Dad has been selling NZ Watercress at the local Farmers Market every weekend to fundraise!
Mum was just doing the bread to help with my costs until she decided she didn’t want me going alone! [smiles]
They were both working hard to get there tickets to come and support. I felt sad at times seeing them working so hard just to come support me but that’s how much love they have for me so I helped as much as I possibly could in between my training and work.
#TheUW – Well Faith, the hard work’s done and so is this interview.. any last words?? 😀
I want to thank my trainers Regy Yamat of Warrior Muay Thai, Kelvin “Crazy Horse” Joseph of Hybrid MMA, Mark Grayling of Mount Marlin Wrestling Club and Hemi Niha of TKO Boxing. Without all of your help, support and being so welcoming I wouldn’t be the fighter I am today, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart.. Now lets win this fight! [smiles]
Chris Vender my manager for all the support and being there for me.
Thank you to all my training partners for sacrificing their time to help me train for this fight you are all so supportive and awesome thank you.
Scott and Christine for welcoming me into The Martial Arts Academy and being so awesome.
Mass Nutrition Mount Maunganui for all there support, GMP Guitars for their support and help, Dragon Do Fight Gear for all my fight gears, Kiwifighter for their support, Colorworks Screen Printers for all my prints, Bobbys Fresh Fish Market you are awesome!
Without everyones help it would be so much harder to do what I do so thank you all so much for everything!
Thank you to all my family and friends all the support you all give, it’s unbelievable and pushes me to be better and better everyday. Without you all I wouldnt be the person I am!
Thank you to Mark Miller, Daniel Daines-Hutt, Nige Pelvin and Paul McMah for all the awesome prizes that helped with my fundraising! [smiles] Thank you to My brothers and my sister Sarah for helping with everything I do, letting me have 2 weeks off work and looking after my girls with my Aunty Phillippa, thank you all so much.
Thank you to my Mamma (who is right beside me in Houston) for everything she does and will continue to do!
Lastly I would like to thank my Daughter’s who support me everyday, for believing in me and pushing me more they anyone to be the best I can be, without them I would be empty.
I Love you all!
#TheUW – Thank you Faith, tautoko and all the luck in the world to you for your debut fight this Saturday afternoon New Zealand time.. Aotearoa will be watching on UFC Fighter Pass and supporting you!