There’s an age-old paradox that asks what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. As clichéd as it might sound, we might find out at Saturday night’s Invicta Fighting Championships 7 event in Kansas City, Mo.

One of the event’s trio of title fights will be for the inaugural bantamweight championship, and the bout pits two undefeated 135-pound fighters against one another. While Muay Thai specialist Miriam Nakamoto will play the role of the unstoppable force, 30-year-old Alaska native Lauren Murphy will serve as the immovable object.

“I think Miriam and I have potential for ‘Fight of the Night,'” Murphy told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “She has a really beautiful skill set to show off and I’m super tough. It’s not like she’s going to throw one kick and it’s going to crumble me. I have an iron jaw and I can take a lot of punishment if I have to. If it goes to the ground, it’s going to be a bloodbath. What more could you ask for in a fight?”

Murphy (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Murphy (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Murphy (formerly Taylor) has only been competing in MMA for three years. But with hard-fought wins over veterans Kaitlin Young and Sarah D’Alelio inside the Invicta cage, the Gracie Barra Katy product now has her sights set on gold, even if she wasn’t expecting it.

“I’m stoked. Some days I’m super nervous about it and others I’m really excited about it,” she admitted. “Last year when I first signed with Invicta, I was talking to my husband, Joe, about it and said, ‘Hopefully I can win one or two fights in there. They have some really tough females.’ And he told me I’d be fighting for the title within a year. I told him no way, but now it’s happening. He was right and I was wrong.”

The success that Murphy has found in such a short time frame can be attributed to her willingness to diversify her training regimen. From her early training in Alaska, to Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., to her current camp in Houston, the fighter has picked up new techniques from a variety of sources.

“Not to take away anything from my team in Alaska, but when I was there, I learned to box and fight like a heavyweight,” said Murphy. “I had a coach that was a heavyweight and he taught us to fight like that. I was flat-footed and just started banging. It made me tough, but the problem is that I’m not a heavyweight! In the gym, I would go against these guys that were bigger and stronger than me, and I was always on the losing end of that. I didn’t develop a lot of footwork. I was always worried about the shit that wasn’t working because it wasn’t right for me.

“When I came to Texas, I got a new kickboxing coach, and he’s taught me how to fight like a lightweight. How to use my movement, be more evasive. I enjoy the stand-up aspect so much more. Also, there’s just more schools and people to train with in Texas.”

With Nakamoto’s stand-up credentials—which include WBC, WCK and WMC World Muay Thai titles—it should come as no surprise that Murphy has worked diligently on her own striking, Yet, she’s clearly not intimidated by her fellow title challenger.

“I think she’s tough, but the whole division is tough,” stated Murphy. “You can’t let that scare you. I’ve been working really hard on my stand-up. I work hard on everything. I want to be one of the best in the world, and she’s one of the best strikers in the world. If I want to be the best, I have to fight the best. I can’t let the fact that she’s good at one thing or another stop me from chasing my dreams.”

Murphy’s two Invicta bouts have gone the distance, snapping a string of five straight stoppages to kick off her career. Nakamoto, meanwhile, has left her two Invicta foes unconscious on the mat. Murphy is confident that same fate won’t befall her on Saturday night.

Murphy (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Murphy (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I’m going to go in there and fight my ass off wherever we go,” declared the fighter. “I have trained for everything. If the fight is contested on the feet for all five rounds, I’m going to be ready for that. If we end up in the clinch, I’m going to be okay. If it ends up on the ground, of course I’m going to be okay with that.

“We watched her fight with Jessamyn [Duke] and her fight with Duda [Yankovich] and talked about what those girls did right and what they did wrong, why they got caught. Obviously, I don’t want to be the one that runs in there and makes the same mistake that everyone else has made.”

One of the hurdles that Murphy must overcome against Nakamoto is a size disadvantage. The Californian will hold both a height and reach edge on Murphy, but it’s nothing new for the seven-fight veteran. In fact, over the course of a potential five rounds, Murphy is hoping to use that to her own advantage.

“Her size doesn’t intimidate me,” she claimed. “Kaitlin Young was huge; I was much smaller than her and it worked out just fine. My cardio is awesome. I get stronger and stronger as the fight goes on. No matter who I’m fighting, I could be fighting the Energizer bunny, and I’d feel like I have the advantage in cardio.”

A win on Saturday may mean more than Invicta gold for the fight’s victor. With the UFC focusing on the bantamweight division, an impressive performance by Murphy may lead to a chance to compete in the world-famous Octagon. Should that happen, Murphy would relish the challenge.

“If I was offered a UFC contract, I’d take it in a heartbeat,” she said. “I feel like I’ve proven myself in Invicta and the next step up is the UFC. To be one of the best in the world, I have to compete against the best in the world.

“Of course, it depends on if I win on Saturday. But I think that if I do, I’m ready for that next level of competition.”

If Murphy and her self-described iron jaw can find a way to halt the unstoppable force when the cage door shuts in Kansas City, she may very well get her wish in the near future.

Lauren would like to thank American Knockout Wear for making her walkout shirts. Part of the proceeds go to a charity in Houston. Also, her team at Gracie Barra Katy for taking her to the next level. Finally, her husband, Joe, for completely embarrassing her at the Invicta FC 6 post-fight press conference. Follow Lauren on Twitter: @LaurenMurphyMMA

Top Photo: Lauren Murphy (L) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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