Coming off a stellar amateur career that saw her go undefeated in six fights, flyweight prospect Tracy Cortez had something of a rude awakening when she made her pro debut in September of last year against Cheri Murasaki for Invicta FC.
Having previously finished all of her opponents, it was Cortez who ended up tasting defeat via second round submission. Since then she’s worked hard to get her career on track and has since picked up three straight victories.
“In my amateur career I was undefeated and I was feeling confident, so when I had my pro debut late last year, it was kind of eye opening,” Cortez told MMAWeekly.com. “I fully committed a year to fighting. I’ve been training full-time. I’m at the gym all the time. This is my life right now.
“From last year to this year there’s been a huge change. As an athlete performing-wise, conditioning-wise, things have been going for the better. There’s been a huge difference from last year to this year.”
During her winning streak, Cortez has been able to showcase a lot of her ability, but there are still areas of her game she feels like she hasn’t been able to use as much as she would like.
“I’ve really been wanting to showcase my hands because we’ve really been focusing on in training,” said Cortez. “It’s not like they’re bad or anything, but in a fight anything can happen, so I don’t really plan anything out. I just go with the flow of things.”
Cortez (3-1) will look to pick up her fourth straight victory when she makes her Combate Americas debut on Friday in her hometown of Phoenix against late replacement Karen Cedillo (1-0) in a 125-pound co-main event.
“I’m not sure what happened with my original opponent, I had just heard that she dropped out,” Cortez said. “When I got my new opponent, I don’t know much about (Cedillo),” Cortez said. “We’re really planning on me being the better martial artist and going out there and doing what I do best.
“I hope it’s a good fight. It’s in my hometown and I want to put on a good show for the crowd. Walking out (in my hometown), I honestly feel all sorts of stuff. It’s overwhelming but in a good way. Every time I get the opportunity to fight in front of my friends and family it’s pretty exciting.”
Having been consistently active since her pro debut last year, Cortez is looking to take some time off, but she will remain ready if anything comes up before the end of 2018. From there she’ll look to impress people at the next level and hopefully make her move up in 2019.
“We’ll probably take the rest of the year off and let my body relax,” said Cortez. “But if something good happens out of this, I’m staying ready regardless. But right now my coaches and my manager don’t have anything set up after this.
“We’re hoping after this fight getting the UFC’s attention with a solid performance. If it’s a performance they don’t like, and I have to keep going and keep bettering myself.”