At 5-foot-2 and 110 pounds, 21-year-old Nebraska native Alyce Roen does not have the look of a fighter. But, as we have learned in the world of women’s mixed martial arts, looks can be deceiving. This Midwestern beauty will make her amateur MMA debut against fellow Nebraskan Stephanie Watts at RFA 13 on March 7 at the Pershing Center in Lincoln, Neb.

“I started training about eight months ago,” Roen told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I initially started training after I went to my first MMA fight in Lincoln. When I first watched the sport, I automatically fell in love with it.”

Roen didn’t start her journey with the end goal of being a fighter, though. She, like many people who walk into a MMA gym, just wanted to get in shape. However, through training, a passion was born.

“Originally started training at Premier because I wanted to get in shape, just to get myself out of the whole partying stage, and it worked out really good,” Roen said. “All of a sudden I just loved doing it and I thought maybe I should try something new because I have not been able to do anything athletic-wise since high school, so I thought ‘Why not?,’ and here I am.”

Understanding that her first fight is a major milestone, Roen also realizes that this fight is more about learning and growing. Regardless of a win or a loss, Roen is in this sport for the long haul.

“I’m pumped and nervous,” Roen admitted. “For a little bit, I was really stressed out, just because obviously it’s your first fight and you want to do good, you want your hand to be raised instead of the other person’s. Whether I win or lose, from the recordings I want to see what I do wrong or what I do right. Basically how I move. You can’t get better if you can’t see what you are doing. I’ve been training my ass off, but even if the odds aren’t in my favor, I still have my family and friends. It’s not going to make me stop this sport. I’m just going to keep going.

“I’m in it to have fun. I’m not going to lie, I am very nervous. And once I get in that cage, I can tell you right now I am going to be very nervous, but it’s a sport. It’s just like anything else—you got to have fun with it. If you don’t have fun with it, why do it?”

However, the ultimate goal of any athletic competition is to win.

“If I get a win, I’ll be freaking happy. I’ll probably cry, I’m not going to lie,” Roen confessed.

Although the perception of women’s MMA is changing, thanks in large part to fighters like UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Roen knows the sport still has a long way to go. She wants to be a part of its growth.

“I’m a big fan of Ronda Rousey,” Roen said. “When I look at Ronda Rousey, she’s young and she’s very driven and you can tell that she is motivated to be someone in the sport, and that’s someone I look up to.

“When you see someone so driven in the sport and motivated and just loving what they do, it just gives you motivation to keep doing it. They just push you. It’s great just seeing females in the sport, because, most people—it’s basically like football or anything like that—most people don’t think females can make a name in the sport. People like Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Sara McMann, it’s great to see, and I want to be one of those people. I want to be a role model.”

With the continued support of her mother and father and their teachings of modesty, humility and dedication, Roen is certainly heading down the right path for future success.

Alyce would like to thank her family, her friends, her training partners, God, everyone at Premier Combat Center and everyone at Mick Doyle’s Kickboxing and Fitness Center. Follow Roen on Twitter: @AlyceRoen

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.