Tiffany Van Soest hadn't yet tasted defeat in her young professional career before losing her Lion Fight featherweight title to Caley Reece by split decision at Lion Fight 13 back in February. The San Diego native had won nine straight since turning pro after going 10-1-1 as an amateur and the loss was difficult on her, but she turned it into a positive.
"Obviously I'm not happy at all with the loss, but I was really able to take that fight and make adjustments to where I could've done better in the fight," said Van Soest recently as a guest on Darce Side Radio. "You learn more from losing than you do from winning. So I definitely tried to just make the best of that situation and use that loss to better myself. It definitely hurt. I spent a good couple hours crying and pouting and being mad at myself and then a couple of days after that to kind of just take it all in and process it."
"It was a roller coaster of emotions from there," she continued. "I'd have good days where I'd be like 'everyone loses it's part of the game.' Then I'd have bad days where I would be so mad at myself and bummed out. Overall I've leveled out and I've learned to take it as a big learning experience. Not taking anything away from Caley because she's so much more experienced and she is a great, great fighter, but I just want that rematch."
Van Soest, 25, didn't have too much time to dwell on that defeat as she was scheduled for a rematch with Lucy Payne on the very next card at Lion Fight 15 on March 23rd, a little over a month later. What made Lion Fight 14 unique was the fact that it was the promotion's first venture outside of Vegas and first on the East Coast at Mohegan Sun Casino.
"Time Bomb" was asked if getting out of Vegas and going across the country helped her focus on getting back into the win column.
"That's a really good question. No one has asked me that," She said. "I haven't really thought about it. I guess in a way yeah. I'm very ritualistic and a little superstitious. I like to have everything the same for my fight. Usually my nutritionist comes with me and he cooks for me and stuff. It was a little inconvenient not having him there and being in the middle of nowhere at that Casino, being away from everything."
"As far as my rituals and being comfortable goes, I didn't really like it that much because Vegas as turned into home field. Just change of scenery, different crowd, different venue, it was also refreshing to have a chance to... That was my first loss. Time to get back into the win column. Going to this new venue, let's just do it. It was kind of cool at the same time."
Van Soest went on to win the Lion Fight 14 matchvup against Payne by unanimous decision, but she won't get the rematch against Reece just yet, as she will be taking on Italian Muay Thai champion, Sindy "Thorn of the Rose" Huyer at Lion Fight 16 on Friday night.
Lion Fight 16 will be taking place at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas and featured as a part of UFC's International Fight Week with a special start time of 6 p.m. PT. The main card will take place immediately after the UFC 175 weigh ins so any of the MMA fans who want to tune in won't miss any of the action. Van Soest said she is "really excited" about being a part of UFC Fight Week and for the card's early start time on Friday so she isn't fighting "super late" like usual.
"It's cool because the fan expo and the fights are the next day, and I'm going to go to the expo as a fan and check it out because I've never been and then probably go to the fights that night because it's a UFC fight," She said. "It will be a fun weekend."
From the scouting that she has done on her upcoming opponent, Van Soest said fans that attend out in Vegas and tune in to watch on AXS TV are "going to be in for a treat," when her and Huyer meet in the middle of the ring.
"I know she comes from a strong boxing background," she said. "She likes to throw hands, which is cool because I like to throw hands as well. She's just aggressive. She does train in Thailand so she is able to balance out and switch up between that traditional Thai style where she'll sit in a weighted back stance and throw kicks, but then when she comes forward it's all hands."
The 9-1 former champion who has a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology is no stranger to a brawl. In fact, she thinks women are "programmed more emotionally" in their DNA and are genetically more prone to fight with emotion, which in turn brings out the "aggression factor," but she tries to steer away from that.
"I try to fight as technical as possible and not use my emotion because that's usually when I tend to get sloppy and just brawl," she explains. "It happens, but I try to avoid it and use my brain."
An avid surfer, Van Soest said she hits the waves "every chance" that she gets while being away from the grind of training. Lion Fight keeps her "super busy" she says, and "that's cool" for her, but it can be "taxing" both mentally and physically and for her, the ocean provides a nice respite.
"The water is starting to warm up and the sun's out so it's nice to be in the water," she says. "It's kind of how I rejuvenate and refresh myself and stay sane with all the training that I'm doing. It's kind of like my relaxation time, my little escape and kind of how I reset."
There hasn't been any official word from Lion Fight President Scott Kent as to if the former featherweight champion will get another crack at Reece with a win over Huyer, but Van Soest said "that's what it's looking like."
"She is still fighting and busy. I think it's just a matter of scheduling because she is fighting and I'm not or I can fight and she has something else going on. It's just a matter of us being able to fight each other at the same time."
View her latest video blog here.