Bellator 293’s Ashley Cummins: ‘The Pressure is Not on Me’ Against Randi Field

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Photo courtesy of Invicta Fighting Championships

Ashley Cummins (7-6 MMA) is coming out of retirement to fight up-and-coming prospect Randi Field (3-1 MMA) in a 120-pound catchweight bout at Bellator 293 on March 31.

Cummins last fought in September 2020 when she lost to Alesha Zapitella for the Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight title. Ashley “Smashley,” not wanting her career to end on a loss, wanted at least one more fight. Though part of the motivation to return was ribbing from her team.

“My joke is I got a lot of pressure from Ilima [Lei-Macfarlane] and my coach, Manolo [Hernandez], which is true. But at the end of the day, it was my decision,” Cummins told MMASucka. “I don’t know. I was thinking about coming back for a while just to try again and see how it feels to be back in there. No one wants to retire off a loss. I kind of had a rough year, and I’ve had some personal stuff going on. For me, being in fight camp is also like therapy for me. That was another reason. It was a combination of peer pressure, and a part of me for the past 8 months to a year kind of had that itch to come back and try again. See if I can retire off a win. Just for my own personal reasons and needing to be in fight camp right now.”

Cummins said she does not know much about her next foe, Field. Field is 1-1 in Bellator with a win over Maraya Miller and a loss to 5-0 flyweight prospect Sumiko Inaba.

“I watched a couple of her fights. I think she’s good,” Cummins said. “But anyone who signs with Bellator is going to be a good fighter. I think it’s going to be a good fight.”

Cummins spent the second half of her professional career at atomweight after fighting larger women earlier on at strawweight. Field, meanwhile, has bounced around between 115, 120 and 125-pound bouts.

“Obviously, everyone is underestimating me because I’m a 105’er and I’m going up in weight,” Cummins said. “I think that’s a big reason why Bellator and her team chose me over other fighters; because I’m a 105’er. They’re trying to get the easiest opponent they can, and they’re overlooking my skill set. I was a really big 105’er. I was probably one of the biggest in Invicta. I cut a ton of weight to get down to that. I think she’s good, and I have respect for her. I always respect my opponents. I’m not a trash-talker at all. I think she’s a good fighter, and it’s going to be a good fight.”

Cummins said she walks really heavy for an atomweight and is happy to not have to cut the extra 15 pounds ahead of her clash with Field.

“I’m happy that I can finally go into a fight not feeling so weak from a weight cut,” she said. “I never missed weight at 105, but those weight cuts took my soul from me. I never went into a fight feeling 100 percent, because my weight cuts were so brutal. I’m excited to finally feel more fresh going into a fight.”

Field has the size advantage over Cummins, but the experience edge lies with Cummins, a two-time Invicta FC atomweight title challenger. Cummins’ resume also includes wins over former Invicta atomweight champion Jessica Delboni and Amber Brown, as well as fights against current UFC flyweight queen Alexa Grasso, Joanne Wood, and Jinh Yu Frey, twice.

Cummins believes the two X-factors between her and Field translate to a wash.

“I think I have an edge in that aspect where I have more cage time and experience,” she said. “I have that edge. Her edge is she’s bigger than me. At the end of the day, it all evens out, and it’s just going to be the better person that night.”

Cummins said she does not know what is next for her after the Field fight. She isn’t signed long-term to any promotion.

“I know [Invicta FC CEO] Shannon [Knapp] loves me, and if I wanted to come back, she’d welcome me with open arms,” Cummins said. “For me, I fought for the 105 belt twice. It didn’t happen for me. For me, there’s no excitement to fight at 105 anymore, because there’s no opportunity outside of Invicta. To get another title shot, I’d have to win a ton of fights to even get back to that point. I don’t know what’s next after this. I just want to focus on this, see how I do, and then make my decision after that.”

Defeating Field, Cummins said, is the goal. While the motivation of possibly ending her career with a win is key, the fight is also just an hour away from Cummins’ hometown of San Diego. Her parents plan to be in attendance.

“They love watching me fight in person,” Cummins said. “It’s been a long time since they’ve been able to. My parents will be there. I have a ton of friends, teammates and co-workers who will be there. For me, I just like putting on a show for my family and friends. That’s one of my goals for myself and what I want to get out of it: to put on a show for everyone I care about.”

Cummins has also enjoyed focusing on MMA during her training camp. Before she retired in 2020, she was doing jiu-jitsu and wrestling separately, she said.

“I’m finally bringing all the aspects of MMA together again instead of training them separately. It’s been cool to pick that up again. It’s helped me with my Law Enforcement Combatives Program that I started. For me, it’s just all positives. I feel like the pressure is not on me. My last two fights in Invicta, I had a ton of pressure on my shoulders. I was fighting for a world title. This time, there’s no world title on the line. I’m not even fighting in my weight class. There’s no pressure on my shoulders.”

Cummins believes her path to victory is sticking to her game plan and being on point everywhere the fight goes.

“Be on point with my striking, wrestling and jiu-jitsu,” she said. “I have a lot of respect for [Field]. I think she’s a really good fighter. If I bring my A game, and I’m on point with my skills and my game plan, I expect to come out with my hand raised, whether it’s a finish or by decision.”

Bellator 293 is set to go down from the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California, on Friday, March 31. The main card will air on Showtime, while the prelims will be streamed on YouTube.

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!

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