Women’s MMA is finally starting to get some attention and fanfare, and one woman who has helped carry the torch in recent times is Leslie Smith. The Cesar Gracie prospect has gone from unknown to fan favorite in a short time due to her exciting style and fun personality.

At 5-2-1, Smith’s career has not been short of excitement. However, it was a career that she entered into blindly and may not have had if fate did not lead her to her destination.

“I walked into this sport with no martial arts experience,” Smith told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I decided to make a lifestyle change from drinking and hanging out at bars to going to school and working. I got a job at Bally Total Fitness because I wanted to use the pool. They wanted me to be a trainer because I was fit, but I was a horrible trainer [laughs]. But a girl I worked with stayed late to watch the fight team that came in to train. That sparked interest in me. I trained with them for 10 minutes, and I was instantly hooked.”

Smith (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

Smith is known as “The Peacemaker,” and serenity is exactly what she feels inside that cage. Though the sport is violent, it also has a sweet harmony for her.

“To me, fighting is meditative,” she admitted. “I am at peace when I am fighting. That is the only time I am not thinking of a million other things. It’s a peaceful time for me.”

Smith is young in her career, but she knows that time will make her stronger. It also helps that she is training with one of the top teams in the sport.

“I feel like I am evolving as a fighter. I get a little smarter and a little more seasoned with every fight,” Smith explained. “I train with the Cesar Gracie team, so you know I am going bring an exciting fight, we are notorious for it.”

Smith meets Sarah Kaufman at Invicta FC 5 in a fight that could thrust her into the top five. Kaufman, a striker, has a style that matches up well with Smith. The bout has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.

“Kaufman has never fought somebody with my stand-up,” said Smith. “My style matches up with her style well. I can neutralize her stand-up with mine, and from there I am better in every aspect of the fight, whether it’s my wrestling or ground game.”

Experience is a good thing to have in MMA, but Smith thinks it may actually be to Kaufman’s detriment.

Smith (L) throws a kick (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

“Her experience may be my advantage because I have a ton of tape on her to scout. She doesn’t know as much about me,” Smith explained.

You never want to look past your upcoming opponent, but Smith has a match-up she would like in the future. It is a fight that would challenge her skills and gauge whether she is ready for a title shot.

“I really want to fight Miesha Tate,” Smith confessed. “I have a lot of respect for her, and I think that would be a great challenge for me.”

Leslie would like to thank her training partners, especially Jordan Landry, Cesar Gracie, everybody at the Scrap Pack, and all of her sponsors. Follow Smith on Twitter: @LeslieSmith_GF

Top Photo: Leslie Smith (L) battles at Invicta FC 4 (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.