LAS VEGAS – It was an uncertain road up leading up to Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, but for Lauren Murphy, it was also a valuable learning experience.
After some late visa issues forced her opponent out of their scheduled bout on Friday, Murphy (10-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was in the often-nerve-wrecking position of staying on weight and being ready to jump in as an alternate. The wait paid off when a shakeup prompted by “TUF 26” finalist Sijara Eubanks’ withdrawal left Barb Honchak (10-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) without a dancing partner.
In came Murphy.
It helps that it ended well for Murphy, who walked away with a split-decision win. But, ultimately, she was glad for the entire ride.
“For me, mentally, to just roll with the punches and focus on what I can control, which is me, and be the best me I can be – this was such good practice for that,” Murphy said after the FS1-televised main-card bout at Park Theater in Las Vegas. “And when we went into this week, I was like, ‘I’m just going to practice not worrying about stuff I can’t control.’ And it was awesome. It worked out great.”
That, it did. Not only did Murphy get back on the winning path, after a loss to Katlyn Chookagian at bantamweight in July, she did so by stopping a serious force in Honchak. A former Invicta FC champ, Honchak made it all the way to the “TUF 26” semifinals before suffering an upset loss to eventual season winner and recently crowned champ Nicco Montano. In official pro bouts, she was riding a nine-fight winning streak into Friday’s bout.
Staying on weight as she waited wasn’t a problem for Murphy, who’s always been disciplined with her diet. But given the circumstances, she knows what she pulled off on Friday was no small feat.
“We didn’t know who we were going to fight or even if we were going to fight,” Murphy said. “So to step up and fight Barb? Barb Honchak, on one day’s notice? To me, it just says a lot to me about me.
“And I’m proud of that. We didn’t have a camp for her. We didn’t have time to prepare for her. And she’s one of the best flyweights in the world, so I think that says a lot.”
After a difficult “TUF 26” taping that forced her to be away from her family, not to mention the rocky lead-up to the TUF 26 Finale, Murphy’s immediate plan is simply to take a scheduled trip to Thailand and sip out of a coconut.
After that, the former bantamweight is set on returning to the newly inaugurated women’s 125-pound division. Where exactly she stands there after such a big win remains to be seen.
Sure, edging out someone like Honchack is big. But does Murphy think it was meaningful enough to set her up for a title shot?
“It’s hard to say,” Murphy said. “There are a lot of really good girls at flyweight. I think it puts me on the way. Coming off a win over Barb Honchak, I think that says a lot – especially to do it on one day’s notice. If we’d had a full camp for her, that might be something else.
“But we stepped up literally on 26 hours’ notice to fight her and came out with the win. So I at least want to start talking about that.”
To hear more from Murphy, check out the video above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: A proud Lauren Murphy discusses weight of short-notice win over top flyweight Barb Honchak