Megan Poe drives nearly 90 minutes each way from Pennington Gap, a small town in Virginia, to Team Oxendine in Johnson City, TN, to train multiple times a week. As an amateur mixed martial artist, she’s not even paid yet to step into a cage and fight another woman.
It sounds grueling, but it’s something Poe said she enjoys doing. And she hopes to make a career of it one day soon.
“It’s 100 percent passion,” Poe, who is only 20 years old, told MMASucka. “It’s a great way to spend your days. I really love it. It’s a strange thing to love.”
Poe began practicing martial arts in the form of boxing when in 10th grade. She wanted to use it for stress relief as well as a way to lose weight. When her boxing trainer wouldn’t show up, Poe made the switch to an MMA gym that held boxing lessons. She slowly began incorporating other martial arts into her training, and wrestled for a year in high school. She kicked off her amateur career in April 2016 at the age of 18.
“I didn’t expect to turn into a full-blown fighter but what happens happens,” she said.
Poe is much like other 20 year olds in many respects. She essentially has a craft of passion she isn’t yet paid for, she attends college and works at a McDonalds. Her dreams are grand, however.
She attends King University in Bristol, TN, and intends to double-major in Criminal Justice and Security & Intelligence Studies. She plans on leaning on those for when she becomes too old for MMA or to have as a back-up career.
She has compiled an amateur record of 4-2 thus far, and will look for a fifth on Friday when she meets Christina Ricker in the main event of Valor Fights 49. The bout will be contested at flyweight.
“I’m really excited,” Poe said. “It’s my first main event and I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’m happy to show what ladies can do.”
Poe won’t be overlooking Ricker (3-4) at all.
“I think she’s very skilled,” she said. “She trains at an elite gym and has a whole bunch of people to work with. She’s in shape so she’s going to come to put on a show.”
If all goes well, Poe said she’d like to turn pro after one or two more wins following the Ricker bout. She admitted she’s having a tough time finding opponents, so she’s likely two wins away. She said it’ll happen whenever she learns more skills and has a bit more experience.
She’s already learned valuable lessons that came after two consecutive defeats in early 2017. She lost a split decision and then was submitted in her next fight. As a result, she drilled takedown defense and submission defense. She won her next bout via submission (strikes) to head into the Valor Fights headliner on a high note.
“The losses didn’t really deter me,” Poe said. “I learned a lot that I have to work on. Winning is really, really nice, but there are more important things like learning from your losses and standing back up after you lose.”
Poe considers herself a boxer with a wrestling background. While she couldn’t compare herself to a more experienced fighter, she said she looks up to top-end women’s MMA fighters such as UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, former UFC strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha, and upcoming UFC bantamweight title challenger Raquel Pennington.
Perhaps one day she’ll join them. That’s a long way down the road. She’s focused on fighting Ricker. Poe predicted the bout will end in a TKO via ground and pound.