Friday night, Invicta FC 10 will take place at the Houston Arena Theater. The all female card, will be headlined with an atomweight title fight between Michelle Waterson (12-3) vs. Herica Tiburcio (8-2).
The co-main event will be a bantamweight bout between Tonya Evinger (14-5) and Cindy “Battlecat” Dandois (5-1). This will be Dandois’ first fight since 2011, and very first fight in the United States for the Belgium born fighter. After becoming pregnant, Dandois took time away from fighting to take on another tough job, being a single mother. It’s been three years since she has stepped into the cage, but Dandois is ready to prove she hasn’t missed a step. I caught up with Cindy to see how things were going before she steps into the cage Friday night.
Mark Carrillo: You won your last fight by 2nd round TKO over Jorina Baars, but the fight was in 2011. Why such a long layoff from fighting?
Cindy Dandois: I didn’t fight for a long time for a number of reasons. First of all, I had just had my third child and had a few personal problems going on as well, and in Europe fighters don’t get paid as they should. In order to support my children I had to get a job that paid well, so at the time, fighting wasn’t an option.
Carrillo: You were set to face Kaitlin Young at Invicta 9, but had to pull from the fight because of visa issues. What was the hold up that kept you from fighting?
Dandois: For one reason or another, they do not allow a passport pickup in Belgium anymore, and I could only get an appointment the week before the fight to have my interview with the consulate. By the time they could finally see me, I was told I would need another five days before I got the proper paperwork back, by the time it was all done it was too late I had to pull from the fight.
Carrillo: This is your first fight in the US. Are you nervous fighting so far from home?
Dandois: I am never nervous to fight, I know all the hard stuff was done in training and the moment the fight begins I know I’m there to have fun and do what I like to do. The traveling did kind of make me nervous, but only because I had to leave my kids behind. I always miss them so much when I have to leave them, but it is an honor to fight for Invicta here in the United States.
Carrillo: How has the weight cut for this fight been so far?
Dandois: The weight cut has been terrible, but they all are because I love food so much and hate dieting. I could eat chocolate everyday, but after talking to Miesha Tate, she suggested I drop a weight class thinking it would be the best for me, and I have all the confidence in the world in her. Luckily, I had a very good nutritionist who helped me out and made me a food plan to follow so I wouldn’t lose any strength during the weight cut. The food plan worked very well, I went from 12% to 8% body fat in the last three weeks.
Carrillo: What has your training schedule been like in preparation for this fight?
Dandois: I’ve been training almost every day except on Sundays. I’ve been training twice a day, Monday through Saturday, at my own MMA gym as well as working out at CSA gym in Holland with Germaine de Randamie, and at Perfect Team. I’ve also been working on my boxing with Daniella Somers at Bulldogs Gym, as well as working on my strength and conditioning.
Carrillo: What do you do outside of fighting?
Dandois: Not too much. I am a teacher, and any free time I have I like to spend with my family and friends, and on Sundays I go to church.
Carrillo: What is tougher, being a fighter or a mother?
Dandois: Being a single mother of three is tougher. You can always take a break from fighting, you can say, “I’m not going to train today, I am too tired.” But you can never take a break from being a mom; not when it is just me and the kids. They need me all the time and I am always here for them when they need me.
Carrillo: This season of The Ultimate Fighter, with the first all female cast, has received a lot of mixed reviews on how some of the fighters have portrayed themselves on the show. Some believe it is giving women’s MMA a bad name. What do you think about the fighters on the show?
Dandois: I think every fighter tries to find the best way to sell themselves. In MMA, you have a “good guy” and a “bad guy”, but if a girl acts like a bitch making her “bad”, a lot of people will want to see her fight. Some will be her fans, and most will be people that want to see her get beat up. Either way, people will want to see this girl fight so she will be able to put people in the seats. Of course I have girls on the show who I like more than others, Heather Clark is my favorite this year. I don’t like how they have made her look on the show because she is the sweetest and coolest girl ever. I also like Aisling [Daly] and Jojo [Calderwood]. For me, they are the most professional,no drama. They just show up, show what they got, and fight for their goals.
Carrillo: What will be your gameplan going into this fight with Evinger?
Dandois: To be honest, I never had a gameplan. I trained my butt off for weeks, God is my gameplan, I hope he will help me bring out the best Cindy I have in me in that cage. Tonya is a great fighter and very well rounded, I didn’t feel like I could work on just one strong point of hers. I just want to have a good fight for the fans, so no gameplan. I will just go in there, and try my best, and I know Tonya will do the same.
Carrillo: Who all would you like to thank for helping you prepare for this fight?
Dandois: First, I would like to thank God, nothing is possible without him. I would like to thank my brother Ben, who is also my coach and best friend, I couldn’t have done it without him. I would like to thank my nutritionist Laurent Roux, for helping with my weight cut. I would like to thank all the guys at Perfect Team, Daniella Somers, and CSA Gym in Holland. My family and friends for the support and babysitting, and for putting up with grumpy me while I was dieting. Thanks to my dad for all the hours he spent with me in the gym when I was younger, and I would also like to thank Miesha and Bryan, my fans, and Invicta for bringing me back. Also, my sponsors Queen, Booster, and LubMMA.
Follow Cindy on Twitter @DandoisCindy