On Feb. 7, 2020, inside a room before a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight, a fighter gets ready. She is one of three people with her coach and father alongside her.
Instead of plugging her headphones or earbuds into her phone, she enjoys listening to the sound in the room. Eventually, Erin Blanchfield walks into the MMA cage located at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, and the fight begins.
She wins by a second round knockout with punches after a head kick against Victoria Leonardo.
“I talked about it with my coach, [Victoria] dropped her left shoulder, so I went left jab left kick instead of kicking with my right,” Erin Blanchfield said.
Erin Blanchfield is a female mixed martial arts fighter with a background in Brazilian jiujitsu. She is from Elmwood, New Jersey, but is fighting out of New York City and Renzo Gracie Academy. At just 20 years old, Erin Blanchfield is in the flyweight weight class (125 lbs.) and fights in the Invicta Fighting Championships division.
She currently is on a three-match winning streak after defeating Brogan Walker-Sanchez in her last fight on July 30, 2020, by unanimous decision at Invicta FC 41.
Erin Blanchfield started with mixed martial arts at a young age. At only seven, she started training in jiujitsu and competing in kickboxing and grappling tournaments.
“I got into martial arts when I was 7 years old,” Erin Blanchfield said. “My brother was training and I went in to watch him and was offered a free class. I fell in love with the training and got into competing soon after.”
Erin Blanchfield’s upbringing was different from other kids her age, as her focus was on MMA fighting.
“My childhood was different in the sense that I never played any school sports,” Erin Blanchfield said. “I spent a lot of my time training, competing and my family and I would travel in the summers to visit other gyms in California and Florida.”
Being surrounded by MMA fighters throughout her childhood inspired her to pursue a career in the sport.
“There were always MMA fighters at the gyms I trained at growing up,” Erin Blanchfield said. “I always looked up to them. Once the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] opened up women’s divisions, I knew fighting MMA was what I wanted to do.”
Currently, Erin Blanchfield is training six days a week. Luckily, her trainers have been familiar faces for years.
“I’ve been training with my striking coach Augie Matias since I was 15 and my jiujitsu coach Frankie Roberts since I was 16,” Erin Blanchfield said. “They both have cornered me in all my professional fights and I couldn’t thank them enough.”
Erin Blanchfield remarked that both Roberts and Matias have been instrumental to her success as a fighter.
“They both have helped me become the fighter I currently am and are always pushing me to become the best athlete I could be,” Erin Blanchfield said.
At just 18-years-old, Erin Blanchfield’s first fight was a huge stepping stone in her career. It was the only fight she had in the Fighting Championships division.
“Once I was in the fight I was just going on autopilot,” Erin Blanchfield said. “We trained for every scenario and I was able to win the fight via first round TKO [technical knockout].”
Even though fighting is extremely important to her, so is school. Erin Blanchfield attends Montclair State University as a television and digital media major with a concentration in sports media & journalism. She hopes to be a commentator after her MMA career is over.
Balancing her career and college is difficult due to her busy school and MMA training schedule.
“Time management is huge with balancing both school and fighting professionally,” Erin Blanchfield said. “Montclair State University has a lot of class options so I usually can get a schedule that fits around my training schedule. It takes a lot of work and discipline but it’s worth it.”
Neither of Erin Blanchfield’s parents, George and Betsy Blanchfield, attended college. While they were not able to further their education, they are thrilled that she decided to do so.
“We were happy that she had the opportunity that we did not have,” Betsy Blanchfield said. “We are overjoyed that Erin is pursuing her college degree as its value is second to none.”
Erin Blanchfield’s family is a valuable support system for her. Her father even gave her the nickname “cold-blooded”.
“Many of the competitors would have nervous energy and emotions but Erin always seemed to be in a very calm state of mind and have a remarkable poker face before, during and after the competitions,” George Blanchfield said. “Because of her ability to stay calm under all circumstances, we would jokingly say she had a coldblooded approach which stuck.”
Erin Blanchfield’s next fight is set to take place soon. Invicta is a part of the UFC, which means that it has the potential to become a championship fight.
“I am not sure that if I win my next fight I would get into the UFC,” Erin Blanchfield said. “Fighters never really know when they will get into the UFC. The UFC matchmakers call fighters at my level when they need a replacement fight or short notice fight. It is pretty random. So I just need to keep fighting and winning until I get that call.”
Her goal is to fight Valentina Shevchenko, who is the number one fighter in the flyweight division; but for right now, she is focused on making it to the pinnacle of MMA fighting.
“The time and effort is going to pay off,” Erin Blanchfield said. “It would mean a lot to me to become a UFC fighter. It has been a goal of mine since I was a young kid and I’m working at it every day.”