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The Interview: “The Night Queen” Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc

Over the next couple of weeks leading up to Invicta FC 6 card we here at ArtofMMA.com will be doing our best to bring you insightful and amazing interviews with the ladies that will be stepping in the cage on July 13th. Today we are lucky enough to bring you one of the fighters who was part of the inaugural Invicta FC card back in 2012, we are very excited to introduce (although you should already know who she is) non other than “The Night Queen” Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc! She is currently 8-6 and coming off a victory vs Angelica Chavez at Invicta FC 2 and will face the always dangerous Jessica Penne on July 13th. So take a minute to sit down and get to know her and make sure to follow her on Twitter @nicdali.

Hey Nicdali, first we want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with us we know you are training hard for the Penne fight so it means a lot that you take the time out to talk with us. I know you grew up a big boxing fan after watch Oscar De La Hoya, can you take a minute and talk to us about what got you into the world of MMA rather than boxing?

Nicdali: Thanks for having me. I was really into boxing until I met my at the time boyfriend (now husband Travis Calanoc) training for his upcoming fight. I instantly fell in love with it. I love the variables and the endless possibilities there are and how it brings everything together like striking, BJJ, wrestling and the rest.

Now you are coming off a win vs Angelica Chavez at Invicta FC 2. This was a fight that looked like you could have ended in the first had there been some more time and then in the second when you had her in a front guillotine. You went on to get the decision win but did you feel frustrated at any point that maybe you couldn’t finish her?

Nicdali: Nope. I had a blast beating the crap out of her. Now looking back at the fight and hindsight is always 20/20 I see I could have finished her but I am happy with my performance. Now right after the fight I was back in the gym working on this things I need to improve and at changing what I had to change but no I was never frustrated. I am the type that if I lose then I go back to the drawing board, correct what I have to and get back out there, I do the same when I win. My end goal is to be a champion and I know I will be there one day.

That’s awesome. Now you are fighting on Invicta 6 which is a pretty stacked card and you face a very though Jessica Penne who has been in the spotlight lately and is another big name that you will step in the cage with. Can you take a minute to talk to us about what is means to be on a card with such big names like Cyborg, Coenen, Hamasaki, Gadelha and Bec Hyatt just to name a few? Also tell us about this fight and where you think you have the advantage.

Nicdali: It is like a dream come true to be honest. This is the next step for me to get where I want to be and that is the main event and a title belt. I have a lot of respect Jessica and as for an advantage, it’s a fight we will find out fight night what’s gonna happen. Names don’t bother me, when I fought Miku Matsumoto I believe she was like #1 in the world. I have also been in there with Felic Herrig and other so yeah names don’t really bother me. I want to fight her because I am going to be a champion one day and you have to fight anyone to get there.

As for being on a card yeah it is a dream come true. I know a lot of these women personally and they are awesome. Bec is like the nicest person I know, she is like a little anime character! I also know Marloes from when she fought Miesha (Tate) and she is awesome! It should be a great night!

Yeah we are working on getting Bec on for an interview because she seems to be a lot of fun! Now you have been in the WMMA game for a while now (2006) and a part of Invicta since the beginning, talk to us about the changes you have seen in not only Invicta but in WMMA as a whole.

Nicdali: The sport has really grown, there are more faces and names I haven’t heard of yet. When I started back before TUF women’s MMA was seen as a side attraction and not taken seriously but now it is getting some respect. It is no longer just who is the better fight but now you have to be well rounded and it is more about who is the better athlete. Shannon (Knapp owner of Invicta) really knows what she is doing and how to treat her fighters. I really enjoy it and watching it grow.

That is amazing to hear and yeah Shannon is doing a great job in everything that is Invicta. Now looking at the sport is there anything you wish you could change.

Nicdali: YES, the way some girls hate on other girls for the way they market themselves. Why can’t you be attractive and kick butt? Why can’t someone be the total package, it makes no sense to me and I see and read so much hate on people and it makes no sense to me. So yeah if I could change one thing that would be it.

That makes perfect sense. We interviewed Kenny Booker who is a teammate of Felice (Herrig) and he mentioned that. Hopefully one day people can get over that. Now it’s time for the age old fight club question, if you could stand across the cage from anyone who would it be and why?

Nicdali: This is a tough question and this may be the weirdest answer you ever get but I would fight my husband…..if we were in the same weight class…and if I were a dude hahahha. He is crazy good in every aspect of MMA and I would want people to see that.

OK that might win strangest answer and not that you would want to fight him but the fact you would want everyone to see how great he is. My wife would say me just so she could kick my butt hahaha. Who are your top fighters to watch right now, let’s go with one female and one male.

Nicdali: I know I am gonna take some crap for this because she is my best friend but Miesha Tate. She has the biggest heart and strongest will I have ever seen. I call her “Iron Will” all the time. She is awesome and a bit crazy, love her.

For my guy fighter I would go with Dominick Cruz, he is so well rounded in all areas and he is so fast and amazing wrestling. I really enjoy watching him fight.

Outstanding choices and rumors coming out of TUF are that she isn’t backing down from the champ Ronda Rousey at all and it is crazy. So moving back to you what is your overall goal in and out of the cage?

Nicdali: In the cage I want to be a champion but out of the cage I want to be an inspiration to young girls especially from Mexico. As many know I was an illegal immigrant did the whole boarder cross a night thing but I want to inspire those girls they can be more than drug dealers or maids, with hard work and good work ethic you can do anything you want I am proof.

THAT IS AMAZING, it could be the best answer to that advice question I have ever heard. People tend to forget kids watch their every movement and you’re on a stage that you are a role model and kids copy you so that is awesome! Last question before we let you go, what type of advice would you give a female looking to get into the world of MMA?

Nicdali: Find a good trainer that is willing to believe in you and work with you as much as you are. It is so important to find that, I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for my trainers so yeah that would be my advice.

Outstanding, before we let you go are there any sponsors or people you would like to mention?

Nicdali: I would like to thank my family, friends and fans for all their dedication and support! Also my amazing sponsors: Babes of MMA, Bullet Proof Exec, Onit, Invicta FC, respectnorespect, Funkygums, Fighter Girls and Sangre Management.

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