There are pros and cons to every personality type.

Being a strong and persistent person can help one overcome obstacles, but it can also be a hindrance if the person doesn’t know how to pick their battles. Some personality types are not afraid of confrontation or challenges. Others prefer to take the path of least resistance. Some are nurturing and warm, whereas others may be seen as logical and cold. The most wise are perhaps the most adaptable.

Maureen “Babyface” Riordon is both adaptable and versatile. Most professional MMA fighters have competed in another combat sport. Maybe they were wrestlers in high school or college. Maybe they were involved in karate as children. Riordon, though, wasn’t even an athlete in any traditional sense. She was more involved in theater and music. She started training combat sports to get in shape and because she hated the treadmill. She wanted to just try some cardio kickboxing, but instead found a passion in 2010 when she found Fusboxe.

Sure, Fusboxe offers kickboxing, and that is what began her foray into combat sports. However, she fell in love with sambo and grappling, and those disciplines are what changed her life’s path. This year, the focus has changed from grappling to striking.

Riordon made her pro kickboxing debut this past May at GLORY 16 in Denver, where she scored a third-round TKO of Brenda Rodriguez. She is scheduled to make her pro boxing debut on the first all-pro, all-female card in Quebec in August. And, on July 25, she is set to make her pro MMA debut against Marion “The Belizean Bruiser” Reneau for Resurrection Fighting Alliance.

Coming off an injury with 15 months recovery time and making three pro debuts in less than six months might seem insane or impossible to some. That is precisely why Riordon is doing it.

“It’s exciting to me,” she told The MMA Corner. “My boxing record doesn’t affect my kickboxing or my MMA record, and vice versa. I want to see what I can do. I have no idea what the outcome will be. Some fighters might choose their opponents to pad their records, and, sure, I would love to step it up to compete in Invicta FC or UFC, but to keep my interest I need to challenge myself.”

Her kickboxing debut went well despite the fight starting earlier than expected.

“It was my first fight, my debut, so of course we were the first fight of the night,” Riordon explained. “They told us the start time, then changed it, and then changed it again. Some people are wound up before a fight, pacing back and forth. Not me. I sit in a corner and mentally prepare. I don’t move or speak. So I sat down. For some lucky reason, I said, ‘Let’s get wrapped.’ We were just finishing up when they said it’s time. So, I fought with no real warm-up. Round one was my warm-up. My brain was in it, but my body wasn’t quite ready.

“In the first round, I was moving more slowly, not kicking as much, using my movement to warm up. In the second and third rounds, I felt much better and was able to start kicking more [and] putting together my combos.”

Riordon was able to finish her opponent with a flurry of strikes in the third round after pushing the pace for the majority of the fight.

For her boxing debut, the sweet science feels like sweet vindication.

Riordon (L) (Twitter.com/babyfacemma)

Riordon (L) (Twitter.com/babyfacemma)

“I was told by boxers when I first started training that I should just stick with grappling,” Riordon revealed. “They said that I would never amount to anything and that I should just quit. Now, here I am, scheduled to be in the co-main event of the very first all-female, all-pro card in North America.”

The challenge really is the draw for Riordan. It seems quite fitting that she lives in Colorado, land of the Rockies. Some folks will tend to go with the flow or take the path of least resistance. Mountain climbers are not those types. When offered the opportunity to be on the card, she was given a choice between two fighters. One was a less-experienced boxer for fewer rounds and a better match-up, stylistically speaking. The other was veteran Canadian Golden Glove winner Lita Mae Button. It should come as no surprise that Riordon picked the latter.

“I appreciate her as a fighter and opponent,” she said. “We are like-minded. She uses the platform to reach out to help kids and others, and that is my passion. No matter the outcome of this fight, other folks outside of the ring will benefit.

“We’ve been sharing stuff on each other’s timelines—no trash-talking. We see this as getting ready to bring each other a challenging opponent to make each other better. Everything I do has to have a deeper purpose. I can’t just watch a movie. I don’t like just games. I’ve been asked about trying American Ninja Warrior, but it’s just not in line with what I want to do and my journey. I wouldn’t want to take time out from my combat sports to train for it. I love doing all three sports, and I feel like they are in line with my goals of advancing my career in MMA so that I can make a difference in other people’s lives through motivational speaking and inspiring others.”

Riordon’s MMA amateur record of 3-2 is actually fairly similar to her upcoming MMA opponent’s pro record of 3-1. Reneau and Riordon have both finished all of their fights via TKO, and neither has been finished, with each only losing by decision.

“I think the best match-ups are the most evenly matched. She is more established in her pro career, and this is my debut. We have same types of finishes, but we are both prepared on the ground,” Riordon analyzed. “I anticipate a heavy stand-up war, brawling it out. I tend to go into a fight with no preference on how to win. I know that I am going into my most well-matched fight and will have to look for and work for the win.

“When choosing my fights or choosing my path, I want the biggest challenge. But when in a fight, I am flexible. I don’t go into a fight looking for a KO like some fighters. They are looking for a certain finish, but ignoring other opportunities. Maybe that’s their journey. Some fighters will take a fight to pad their records or take a fight that they feel they are confident they can win. And if that is their end goal—to be in the UFC or Invicta—I can’t fault them for making decisions that will get them there. But that isn’t for me.”

As if being a fighter, a mother of four boys, a writer and a bookkeeper isn’t enough, Riordon has also been attending college online to be a nutritionist.

“It’s not easy, but going online to Kaplan was the only way to do it. I can take one day and get all my work done if I need to,” recounted Riordon. “And it’s done wonders for my fight game. It used to be a struggle to hit 145 [pounds]. Now, cutting to 135 is good. It’s so good that I am even considering competing at 125.”

Choosing the right path, the right strategy and the right outlook can make all the difference in the world. Riordon, despite no background in athletics and despite a relatively short time in combat sports, has managed to set herself up on the path to happiness in MMA, and success, too.

Maureen would like to thank everyone at Fusboxe, especially head coach Michael Sullivan and teammates Brooke Pelton, Jesenia Rivas and Johnny Argrow for taking the extra time to train with her, even with her crazy hours. She would also like to thank Charmaine Tweet and her entire camp, adding that the coaching staff were knowledgeable and passionate and “they gave me just as much attention as their fighter.” Follow Riordon on Twitter: @babyfaceMMA and on her website: maureenriordonmma.com

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.