Expect to see a new version of Ashley Cummins on Saturday night at Invicta FC 27.
She’ll look to implement lessons learned from her defeat to Jinh Yu Frey in her last MMA outing and showcase improved striking. She meets Invicta newcomer Stephanie Alba (3-1) in her upcoming fight on Jan. 13.
Cummins (5-4 MMA, 2-4 IFC) dropped a close unanimous decision to Frey in July. Frey caught her opponent off-guard with a wrestling-heavy game-plan. Cummins attacked off her back with submissions, but was ultimately unable to sink one. “Smashley” learned a valuable lesson from that bout.
“You can’t go into the fight thinking someone will do one thing. That was my mistake for my last camp,” Cummins told MMASucka. “When Frey started shooting, I froze because I wasn’t expecting it. It was a lesson learned. It sucks to lose but I’m thankful for that lesson. You learn more from your losses than your wins. You just have to be ready for anything.”
Cummins said she’ll be ready wherever the fight goes. Typically, fans who have watched her fights will notice her impressive wrestling and submission skills. What they haven’t seen too much of is her striking game, but that could change.
After her loss to Frey, a dream came true for Cummins, a St. Louis police officer, when she got to compete at Guns ‘N Hoses in November. Guns ‘N Hoses promotes boxing fights between police and firefighters for charity. Cummins, a proud representative of the police force, won a unanimous decision over Julie Metzner.
Cummins vs. Metzner (Courtesy of Budweiser Guns ‘N Hoses)
The fight marked Cummins’ professional boxing debut, and a successful one at that.
“Fighting for Guns ‘N Hoses was a great experience,” she said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to fight there since I’ve been a police officer. I had a six-week camp and focused on striking.”
The St. Louis cop said she feels her striking has gotten much better from her experience in the boxing ring.
“My combos have gotten crisper and faster since the boxing fight,” she said.
Striking isn’t the only area where the 30-year-old feels she’s made strides in 2017. Entering the year, Cummins decided to drop down from strawweight to atomweight and has adjusted seamlessly. While she’s 1-1 with a win over Amber Brown and the loss to Frey, observers can notice a world of difference in her performances.
“I feel so much better at this weight,” Cummins said. “It’s a night and day difference. I wish I dropped to [atomweight] years ago. I’d probably have a better record.”
She explained that the women she fought at 115 lbs all had noticeable size advantages over her. Joanne Calderwood, Alexa Grasso and Emily Kagan, all UFC veterans, account for three of Cummins’ four professional losses at a weight class she realized she didn’t belong in.
“I would go to fights and I would immediately feel the size disadvantage,” she said. “I don’t feel it anymore. It’s a good feeling. They’re pretty much my size and are around my strength. Makes for a more equal match.”
As for her spot in the division, Cummins hopes she’ll one day get to rematch Frey for the Invicta atomweight belt.
“I have a lot of respect for Frey, I think she’s one of the best in the world,” she said. “I learned a lot from that fight. No disrespect to her, but I would like a rematch.”
Cummins said she hopes that she’ll get to fight for the title after two wins, which starts with Alba.
Get to know Ashley Cummins here.