Alex Chambers is on her way to a full recovery following a devastating knee injury that has seen her sidelined since September last year.
The Aussie, who now spends most of her time in Florida training with world renowned American Top Team, is adamant she will be back inside the Octagon before 2016 is over and with a fight card planned for down under later in the year, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
“Things are feeling good. I haven’t started sparring yet but I’m definitely targeting a return to the Octagon before the end of the year. So, I’m just taking it a day at a time, rehabbing it hard and we’ll see how we go from there,” Chambers told Fight News Australia.
Chambers is no stranger to injuries though, having been through a knee reconstruction before, but has managed to maintain a positive attitude despite the setback.
“A lot of it is mental and building the confidence back up. That’s definitely a big part of coming back from a knee reconstruction. I’ve been through it before, and a lot of other injuries, throughout my career. It’s just about focusing on what I can do and focusing on the positives day by day – realising how far I’ve come from the day it happened and what I can do now. It helps looking at it like that and just wanting to get back into the sport I love. That is motivating enough.”
Since Chambers made her professional MMA debut she has amassed a record of 5-3 fighting for promotions like BRACE, Invicta and now the UFC. Her victory over Kailin Curran is the stuff of legends, posting one of the best come-back wins of 2015.
Chambers is one of thirty three rostered fighters that makes up the strawweight division; a division that boasts some of the UFC’s best talent making it highly competitive and exciting to boot. It’s champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, is a lethal weapon on the feet and has defended the belt twice since beating Carla Esparza for the title in March of last year. The talent nipping at her heels is deep but at the top of the heap is Claudia Gadelha – a woman that took Jedrzejczyk the distance and lost in a controversial split decision.
“The strawweight division is an exciting division. It’s a very dynamic division and there’s been a lot of changes in the last six months. It’s one of the most talent-rich divisions in the UFC. It’s also one of the most competitive so it makes me feel very privledged to be apart of it. What do I see happening? Will there be a new champ? I’m excited about this rematch between the champ Joanna and Claudia. They both have evolved as fighters since they last fought just over a year ago now. To be honest with you, it’s tough to pick a winner, we’ll see,” Chambers said.
“I think there are a lot of people that want to see the rematch. Who’s next in line? It’s pretty tough to pick the next in line in a division where everyone is really only one fight away. I think the UFC’s probably going to make that call after they see the result from the rematch. Rose has been doing really well. Carla just had a great comeback. So we’ll see. Anything can happen in this division.”
The second women’s title up for grabs during International Fight Week is for the bantamweight strap and Chambers has no doubt that teammate Amanda Nunes is going to bring it against current champion Miesha Tate.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting fight. You’ve seen Amanda’s record and what she’s done. She’s a killer. She has that finishing instinct and goes for it and that is what makes her an exciting fighter. Her mindset is so sharp right now, she’s so focused on getting that belt and she works very hard. I believe she’s going to show everyone what she is capable of at UFC 200.”
While there has been many highs and lows on her journey as a fighter, Chambers says her biggest takeaway has been the friendships she has made along the way and simply getting to do what she loves to do every day – something most people only dream of.
With MMA growing in popularity in Australia, and mentalities changing for the better, there is no question that this sport-crazy country will continue to produce talent at an international level. For Chambers being able to reach the pinnacle of her sport has been both humbling and a privilege and while she doesn’t necessarily like to consider herself a pioneer for MMA in Australia, she most certainly is just that.