After a slow 2020, Melissa Croden is looking to make 2021 the biggest year of her career.
Canada’s Croden (2-0) will kickoff the year on Friday night at Titan FC 67 when she takes on Brazil’s Evelyn Martins (1-0) in a women’s bantamweight showdown in Miami, Fla.
Prior to securing this bout, Croden, 29, signed on with Ruby Sports and Entertainment for representation in hopes of progressing her career at a faster rate.
So far, it’s proven to be a great decision for Croden as her path to reach the highest level is now right at her feet.
“After speaking to my manager and getting his opinion, with where I’m at as far as my career goes, we’re thinking two more fights and I get the call or fight on Contender Series,” said Croden in an interview with MMA Empire.
“He has all the contacts to make this happen, so that’s exactly what I’m preparing for.”
Croden’s last outing in the cage was in January of last year, a second round TKO victory over Elizabeth Schroder at Fight Night 12.
While the win was significant in itself, Croden said the fight also reminded her to never get too comfortable with her game, and to always continue to evolve.
“With that being my second pro fight, it’s really just about riding the wave at this point and understanding it doesn’t get easier from this point on, so you have to keep respecting every opponent you have,” said Croden.
“I think a lot of people will make the mistake of thinking they’re done evolving as a fighter, when really there’s so much potential still there and you just have to stay on top of it.”
With the majority of Canada still under strict restrictions due to COVID-19, causing gyms to remain closed, Croden took her training camp to Las Vegas to work with the elite team at Syndicate MMA.
Croden said she was able to put in a six-week training camp at Syndicate and feels better than ever heading into Friday night.
“The training partners there were awesome because they have such a strong female team, so I think I sparred with only one guy the entire time I was there, which is something that’s super rare,” said Croden.
“Their female team is starting to get some recognition, which is starting to draw in more women, so it’s a good little hub to have for female MMA fighters. I helped JoJo get ready for her recent fight, helped a little bit with Roxy, and Emily Whitmire a little bit as well. It’s just been great; everyone’s super friendly and the coaching is good.”
In seven combined professional and amateur fights, Croden has yet to see the judges scorecards, finishing all seven of her opponents by knockout or TKO.
As always, Croden expects to have a significant advantage in the striking department against Martins, and is looking forward to putting those skills on display once again.
“You’ll see my usual style, but just a little more evolved. Now that I’ve been in the cage a few times, after having a pretty solid amateur career, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting loosened up a little more earlier in the rounds, and I can just flow and be myself more,” said Croden.
“It kind of evolves every time. It’s nice to see it evolve every camp, and feel that momentum build.”
“I would like to thank my main coach Dan Miller. He’s been with me since the beginning, and that man has put every ounce of care and effort into me as a fighter. He grew me from the ground up and will be my forever coach. Also all my training partners from home, Grace Dobie, and all the girls at Syndicate MMA.” Follow Croden on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM