There was a feral cat in Orlando, Fla. This cat was an adorable little calico and shouldn’t have had trouble finding a good home, but for some reason, that cat decided my home was her home. She greeted me every time I came home, no matter the hour of day or night. “No, I am not going to pet you,” I’d say as I hurried in from the rain. But she would stay under the porch roof and stare at me for hours.

“Okay, I will pet you, but I won’t feed you” turned into “Okay, I will feed you, but you can’t come inside.” And then hurricane season came and “Okay, you can come in, but you can only stay until the Hurricane Watch is over” was uttered. And then it was time to move, and I told the cat, “Okay, Persistence, you can come with us.”

Persistence knew what she wanted and she worked hard to get it. She worked smart and she didn’t give up. Most people never learn how to apply themselves and give their all like that little cat.

Greenway (Jeremy Harris/Jeremy Harris Photographs)

Greenway (Jeremy Harris/Jeremy Harris Photographs)

Ashley Greenway is not like most people. Unlike most MMA fighters, she didn’t wrestle or box or take karate as a child. In fact, she’d never heard of mixed martial arts until she started dating her husband-to-be, Allen Greenway. When the Greenways decided to open a gym, she picked up Muay Thai. She became a fitness instructor and decided to try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was love at first roll.

Her first fight opportunity put her on the same card as her husband. She won in just over a minute with a guillotine choke. Her next test took her to the second round, and she was able to finish that one by TKO. Her third test went the full three rounds, and she won by decision. Talk about well-rounded!

Her only loss came next, via unanimous decision, in an amateur contest against Tecia Torres.

“This was the biggest fight of my life and I didn’t take it serious,” Greenway admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I had a horrible weight cut and didn’t realize—oh, those kicks.”

After that loss, Greenway changed her whole approach to training and her fight camp, as well as her goals. She has been on a tear, winning three more amateur fights. The wins came by rear-naked choke, a submission due to punches and an armbar, again demonstrating the many weapons she has in her arsenal. Those fights were but stepping stones to her dream of following in Torres’ footsteps. Greenway wanted Invicta FC to be her fight home, and so she made it happen.

“It’s hard to find fights in North Carolina,” she explained. “I was offered a couple of pro fights, but knew that with [The Ultimate Fighter] house and UFC signing most of Invicta’s 115-pound division that there was opportunity for me to make my pro debut like Tecia did.

“I really wanted my pro debut to be for Invicta, so I made some noise on social media. I got some of my friends and fans to make some noise and we got [Invicta President Shannon Knapp’s] attention. Shannon had been following me, and she reached out to me. We emailed back and forth, and I made my case. I told her that my only loss was to Tecia and I knew I could compete.”

Greenway hasn’t stopped making noise. She is not only a new breed of fighter with an excellent ground game, vicious striking and an ability to change levels to control the fight but she also knows how to control her image.

Ashley Greenway (Jeremy Harris/Jeremy Harris Photographs)

Ashley Greenway (Jeremy Harris/Jeremy Harris Photographs)

“I am driven, highly motivated,” she said. “I give whatever I do 100 percent. And, especially as a woman, you have to pay attention to how others see you. There are some that use their bodies to get attention, but that’s not me. That’s not what I want to do.

“I have different aspects to my personality. I love to drink coffee and paint. I love being able to tap out a guy. I am super nice 90 percent of the time, and I’m a mother of two.”

When asked about UFC champion Ronda Rousey’s statement about Sara McMann’s motherhood being a distraction, Greenway smiled.

“She said it because she was in a fight with McMann, who is a single mother, and she was picking a fight with her,” Greenway explained. “I don’t believe it, and I don’t think she does. My boys are growing up in the gym and they love it. Now, someone who doesn’t own the gym might find it harder, but the person who really wants it will find a way to make it happen and make the time.”

Even though Greenway has signed with Invicta FC, she is still in limbo. There have been no formal announcements for the next card.

“I’ve spoken with Shannon, but I am not allowed to say much,” confessed Greenway. When pressed as to who she might face, she put on the politician’s hat. “You can’t believe records that you see online. Sherdog says I am 5-1, but I am really 6- 1. And it only shows pro records from other countries. As far as match-ups go, Mellony Geugjes might be a good one. Actually, I think the perfect match-up on paper is Delaney [Owen], who is 1-0 for pro MMA. We’re actually good friends, so I’d rather not face her right off the bat. I think they would likely mix up us Americans and have us face some of the other girls. Who knows? It doesn’t really matter to me. I’ll take one of the Brazilians.”

Even without a specific fight, Greenway is training like her life depends on it.

“We’ve owned our own gym for over eight years—BodyQuest MMA—and I decided years ago that this is my life,” the strawweight fighter revealed. “It’s routine. The kids are always there. We have a lot of good training partners. I have another female who just made her debut and a couple of guys that are same size as me. I love training with them because they are so strong and they don’t tap.”

Even though combat and championships haven’t been a life-long dream for Greenway, it’s clear that this is her life. She takes it seriously and plans on letting absolutely nothing keep her from living her dreams. Whomever Invicta matchmaker Julie Kedzie puts in her way had better be ready to face a fierce, determined and persistent fighter who has the will and the skills to win.

Ashley would like to thank her sponsors: Duomachy, Diamond Thieves Tattoo, Derek Allen, MMARoundHog, DNA Anabolics, Howard Fidler x-ion-x, Fight Chix, Doug FSE Sports, Carolina MMA, and BodyQuest MMA. She also thinks it kind of odd, but would like to thank Tecia Torres for being a great role model and friend. Greenway would like to give huge shout-outs to everyone who has been there for her, and she’d like to thank her family, her teammates and her kids, Avione and Parker, and especially her husband. Follow Greenway on Twitter: @GreenwayAshley

About The Author

Staff Writer

Amber currently resides in Tampa, Fla., a hotbed of MMA. She was introduced to the sport Memorial Day weekend in 2006 and quickly became addicted. Amber loves the fact that the biggest and strongest don’t always win, the respect the competitors show and that women are finally getting their shot. She also writes a blog for Fight It Out gear. When not watching MMA, Amber can be found at the beach playing volleyball, in the gym learning from Tampa’s only female BJJ Black Belt, cheering on her eight-year-old daughter in tae kwon do, or at her day job. She has a girlfriend, daughter, too many dogs and a cat who lives in the attic. Communication highly encouraged at amber at fightitout dot com.