Several world-class jiu-jitsu champions have transitioned to MMA in recent years, with Mackenzie Dern being the most notable example.
The 24-year-old Dern is set to make her UFC debut next month at UFC 222, following a lengthy career on the IBJJF circuit. It was a no-brainer for Dern to make the leap to the cage, as a high-paying opportunity inside the Octagon was too good to pass up. She'll make bank at UFC 222, and she's not alone.
UFC and Bellator paying top dollar caused many high-level BJJ players to round out their game with wrestling and striking training. In recent years, we've seen the likes of Neiman Gracie, Demian Maia and Nate Diaz earn big bucks with fast finishes in the UFC.
The money is there. However, Renzo Gracie-training jiu jitsu phenom Faye Farrales isn't in any rush to get punched in the face. Farrales told AXS she plans to continue on in the realm of jiu-jitsu, and has no desire to fight inside the cage. "No intentions of switching to MMA. I like to cross-train for sure, but it takes a certain animal to be in that cage," Farrales told AXS. "More props to the women taking that route! They are fierce and the hardest-working athletes. I just don't have the desire to do MMA.
"I love the art of jiu-jitsu and not having kicks and punches coming my way while I do it."
So there you have it. Don't expect Farrales to follow in Dern's footsteps to the Octagon. She does, however, plan to compete in jiu-jitsu for a very long time. "My goal is to be able to do jiu-jitsu for the rest of my life," she said. "I want to be healthy and strong enough to do these movements when I'm old and grey. I'm not looking to be a world champion, just looking to be the best version of me. I want to see how much I can handle.
"And if I put forth effort, to see how far I can take myself. I like to put effort into the things that matter to me. Competing is fun, so I add that to the mix of my training."
The 31-year-old Farrales started her jiu-jitsu journey on a whim, based on a pal's suggestion. "A friend of mine said it was the best thing ever, that it was challenging for the mind and body," she explained. "I was sold! I went to my first class a little over five years ago, and here I am!"
In her most recent competition, Farrales made it to the finals at the UAEJJF Continental Pro jiu-jitsu tournament Feb. 18 at Queens College. "I'm happy about my performance," Farrales said. "I had two submissions and lost in the finals -- by points -- to an experienced competitor. It's a learning experience. I can't be upset about the loss because I'm proud of the progress I made leading up to this competition. Time to move onto the next!"