Miranda “Danger” Granger got to the point where she was just too dangerous for the competition.
The Snohomish native and Glacier Peak High School graduate built a reputation for herself in the local amateur mixed martial arts scene. So much so that no one would fight her.
Therefore, she’s joining the professional ranks.
Granger will make her professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut Friday when she faces Nikki Lowe as part of Summer Showdown IV at the Tulalip Resort Casino, and she feels she’s ready for the jump from the amateur ranks.
“I’m just excited,” Granger said. “It’s a lot of pressure coming from such a good amateur record, but I have to remember it’s just another fight and I’m just getting in there to do what I’ve been training to do. I’ve been training for this particular fight for four or five straight months now, so I’m ready to go.”
Granger, a 25-year-old who fights out of Charlie’s Combat Club in Everett, is coming off a storied amateur career in which she went 10-0 — 5-0 in MMA and 5-0 as a kickboxer. She won five belts as an amateur, three in MMA and two in kickboxing.
And because of her success she was having difficulty booking opponents. Granger’s last fight was in February as part of Supreme Showdown 2 at the Tulalip Resort Casino, when she defeated Kaila Thompson by technical knockout in the second round. Since then every amateur fighter Granger’s team approached said, “no.”
“We pretty much just ran out of opponents,” Charlie Pearson, Granger’s trainer, said. “Even as an amateur we were having to fly people in to fight her. There’s a bigger pool of girls in the area at that rank in the professional division, so there’s a bunch of girls we can potentially start looking for as opponents.”
Granger went pro by signing a four-fight deal with *Alliance MMA, Inc., which is based in *New York City. The contract calls for all four fights to take place over the span of one year.
Moving to the professional level brings some new challenges. There are techniques that are allowed in professional MMA that aren’t allowed at the amateur level, such as elbowing to the head and body and the heel hook submission hold.
Perhaps more significant is the length of the rounds. Professional MMA bouts consist of three five-minute rounds, while amateur bouts are three three-minute rounds.
“It’s just a lot of cardio,” Granger said about the biggest difference in preparation between an amateur and a professional fight. “I usually do a ton of cardio, but with five-minute rounds, and with me never doing it before, I’ve just been over-preparing with the cardio. It’s lots of hard work.”
But going pro also brings opportunity. All 10 of Granger’s amateur fights took place in Washington. Though her first pro fight is also in-state, her deal with Alliance MMA, Inc., could offer the opportunity to travel for fights.
“I would like to travel and fight,” Granger said. “If I get to travel and beat people up and see the world, then why not? That’s kind of what I’d like to do next.”
But first up is Friday’s date with Lowe, which will be at 115 pounds. Lowe fights out of the renowned Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is the home of MMA luminaries such as Holly Holm and Jon Jones. So even though Lowe has an 0-2 record as a pro, Granger is not taking her lightly.
“I think this is definitely going to be my toughest opponent to date,” Granger said. “She’s very experienced and I think it will be a brawl.
“I don’t know too much about her,” Granger added. “I’ve seen a couple of her fights, but I’m just preparing for what I’m going to do and wherever the fight takes me I’m ready for it.”
One thing Granger will be bringing with her from her time as an amateur is an improved strategic aptitude.
“I think her fight mindset has gotten better,” Pearson said. “She’s a naturally aggressive personality, so I’ve never had a problem with getting her to hit anybody. But sometimes she likes to hit people too much and she chooses to hit somebody where she should have made another choice, or she will crowd herself because she’s so aggressive as opposed to keeping a little more space when that would be appropriate. So her fight strategy, her fight mindset, has probably been her biggest improvement.
“I don’t bet money, but if I did I’d probably put a fair chunk of change on [Granger].”
It’s been a long time since Granger has been inside the cage. Granger began her MMA career three years ago and she’s accustomed to four or five fights a year. It’s been more than six months since her last bout, so Granger is champing at the bit to get back at it.
“I think this is the most prepared I’ve ever been for a fight,” Granger said. “I’m in here from noon to 9 every day, so I spend my whole life in here. I don’t have any distractions, I don’t have anything on the outside. I came to fight and I’m putting my whole life into it.”
If you have an idea for a community sports story, e-mail Nick Patterson at email@example.com.
*—Correction, Aug. 22, 2017: The name and location of the company that signed Granger were incorrect in the original article.
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