New Surroundings: Interview with victorious Invicta FC 2 flyweight Barb Honchak

Barb Honchak (right) has her hand raised victoriously by Big John McCarthy at Invicta FC 2 last weekend. Photo by Tracy Lee via Invicta FC

Barb Honchak had a lot on her mind heading into her main card fight last weekend against undefeated 125-pounder Bethany Marshall at Invicta FC 2 in Kansas City.

She was fighting with a new gym for the first time, and Miletich Fighting Systems at that, she was being represented by a management team for the first time and she had a large group of new sponsors to impress.

Despite the pressure and the mental hurdles, Honchak rose to the occasion, dominating Marshall over the course of their main card fight (which you can watch here), and was finished via TKO in the second round.

With the high profile victory, the "Little Warrior" has firmly stamped herself as one of the top contenders at 125 for whenever Invicta decided to create a flyweight title.

Honchak was recently a guest on Bloody Elbow Radio where she talked the unique Miletich Fighting Systems strategy, the big changes she'd made before her bout against Marshal and what's next for her.

Check it out:

Matt Bishop: You had a very impressive performance against Bethany Marshall last weekend at Invicta FC 2. How does it feel to get out of there with a win?

Barb Honchak: It's wonderful. Invicta was such a professional show and I was so happy to be a part of it. The win was just icing on the cake.

Matt Bishop: You're a veteran of eight professional fights now. We've heard how professional Invicta is run by everal fighters. Is that just in comparison to the local shows that most girls have been used to fighting for?

Barb Honchak: No, I've fought for quite a few good productions, Invicta just tops them all. They treat us all with an immeasurable amount of respect. Shannon, when she talks to us, she tells us "the show is ours" and this is our opportunity to showcase our skills. They make a big effort to tell us that they want us to own the show, they want it to be about us, when a lot of promoters, the show is about them and their ability to put on a show. I think it's all about a different perspective they they run things.

Matt Bishop: Let's talk about your fight against Bethany Marshall. Was it a goal of yours to get off to a quick start? You jumped her right out of the opening bell and didn't really give her a chance to get going. Is that something you were looking to do?

Barb Honchak: Yeah, it was. I started a little bit slower than I wanted to but sometimes it goes like that. By the time the second round started, I was in a groove and I did much better and I never gave her a chance to get going. That was my goal in the second round. That's the Miletich Fighting System's mantra: "Your opponent doesn't get a turn."

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You just moved out toe Miletich so can you talk about what that experience was like? It was a radical shift in environment in the lead-up to the most high profile fight of your career.

Barb Honchak: Yeah, Janet asked me to fight on the first Invicta card but that was pretty much just as I had moved out here so I turned it down because I didn't know what to expect of the new team. There are an awful lot of epic fighters who have trained her so I wasn't really sure how they were gonna handle a girl coming in and crashing their gym. I turned it down to get to know my team, get to know my coaches and see how they handled me.

They really welcomed me with open arms. They took me under their wing and worked with me so, so much. They put a lot of time and effort into me for this fight. The transition was amazing. It was a different system than what I was used to so I had an adjustment period coming up here and I'm glad I took the time to get to know everybody and settle in because it was a big change. I think everything was for the best because I've learned so much. I've trained very closely under Junior Hernandez and he's taken me under his wing and really turned me into a whole different fighter.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now that wasn't the only change for you. You also signed with a new management team before this fight, you had new sponsors and it was basically the highest stakes of any fight you've ever had in your career. How did you deal with the added pressure?

Barb Honchak: There was for sure, in addition to the new gym and new team and wanting to prove myself to those guys, I had hired on Addison Sports Management who did a wonderful job managing me before this fight. I had a ton of new sponsors for this fight and I definitely felt the need to make an impression. Pressure can be a very negative thing so I just tried to put that all in the background and instead tried to deal with the outcome of the fight, positive or negative, once it was all over. I tried not to make it an ordeal during my training. It can add a lot of unwanted noise during training.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You were extremely dominant both standing and on the ground for almost the full duration of the bout. Did you just feel like everything was going right for you?

Barb Honchak: Yes. I trained so hard for this fight and I think I had more motivation, wanting to fit into the camp. My learning curve has gone up so much because their styles are so different than what I'm used to. I had so many revelations, so many "lightbulb going off" moments while I was up here. I just felt like everything did fall into place for sure and I could focus really easy in this fight and I could see the next move. It just went perfect for me.

Matt Bishop: You're new at MFS and we don't hear about them as much these days. What's going on over there these days?

Barb Honchak: There are a lot of exciting new things going on at Pat's gym. I say Pat Miletich, but he's not the owner anymore. The owners are Mike and Eli, they're brand new owners at the gym. The gym is called Core Fitness now located in Bettendorf, Iowa. Pat still comes in on Monday mornings and teaches so he's teaching again. Pat is directly involved in our training. I feel like the gym is about to get a second wind. There's a lot of really good fighters here that just haven't come out into the light yet. Militech Fighting Systems is still very much alive. They've just been put on the backburner a bit.

Matt Bishop: We'll close with this. What's the plan for the future for you right now?

Barb Honchak: I don't have anything official or in contract, but I did talk to Janet a bit and I believe you guys will see me again on the next Invicta show in October.

You can follow Barb Honchak on twitter @L_Warrior.

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