After suffering a loss in her first MMA bout in 2013, strawweight prospect Ashley Nichols opted to focus on her Muay Thai career before making the decision to return to the cage in 2017.
Since her return to MMA a year ago, Nichols has been able to pick up three straight wins, including two in one night to claim a tournament title.
“January (of 2017) was when I first make the comeback, and did fairly well and won,” Nichols told MMAWeekly.com. “Then in June I fought in a four-woman tournament for TKO MMA and was able to win the tournament as well. Then in December I moved to Ottawa to improve on my MMA career.”
As Nichols explains, having spent time in Thailand to improve her Muay Thai, she knew that in order to step up her MMA game, she needed to move to Ottawa in order receive the level of training to step things up.
“To really step up to the next level of MMA I had to make the move to Ottawa and really make a go for it,” said Nichols. “It’s been a good change, and a lot of growing. I’m training every day striking, BJJ, wrestling, so it’s been good.”
While Nichols (3-1) has grown a lot in her overall game, she expects a clash of styles when she faces Sharon Jacobson (4-2) in a main card 115-pound bout at Invicta FC 27 on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.
“I’m still a Muay Thai specialist, but I am ready for anything in the cage,” Nichols said. “I’m looking forward to the fight.
“I know (Jacobson) has a lot of wrestling experience. I’m going to use my striking to control distance and keep the fight exciting. I’m going to bring a really strong performance for my (Invicta) debut.”
For Nichols, establishing herself as a standout performer on her first bout on the national stage is a big part of the plans she has set for herself in MMA in 2018.
“I want to be known for being an exciting fighter,” said Nichols. “I really want to push the pace in the fight and put on a good performance. I’m going to make a statement and bring a really good fight for the fans.
“For this year I’m definitely hoping to get a few fights with Invicta, as long as my first performance is exciting. I want to get more experience, keep going and get more exciting matches this year.”