Before Andrea “Renegade” Howland tries to climb to 3-0 at Lights Out Championship 1 on Oct. 13 in Grand Rapids, Mich., the fast-rising prospect checked in with FightBookMMA.
How did you find MMA to begin with?
I like a challenge. I had a partner-in-crime, Angie Jennings, she started training about four or five years before me. So, I got a look at it from the amateur-level in Michigan before I got into it. Looking at her opponents, looking at the shows, always being a fan of the UFC, it caught my eye. I started training because I wanted to pursue the skillset because I’m a mom and I want to be able to protect my children and myself. I had an inkling I’d want to compete and when I started training and got going I got bit by the bug. Once I took a couple shots to the face and didn’t walk away crying, I thought “we may have ourselves a fun time, here.” That’s how it started and it’s going well. I’m enjoying it.
Are you ever surprised by how far you’ve come from that point?
Yeah, there’s a timehop post on Facebook that Angela posted the other day from my first jujitsu class two years ago. It’s crazy how we projected that we’d be here as friends and competitors. It was a real, “wow, look at where we are now,” moments.
How does it feel to be a part of Lights Out’s first show?
I feel uniquely blessed to have the opportunity. I think Michigan MMA is making some noise right now. I’m proud of all of the people I’ve worked with so far. I’m excited to see what everyone brings to the table. Light Out is a new, exciting topic here. Matt and his team have put a lot of effort into promoting their fighters. “If you fight for that light, we’re going to give you the best shine.” It’s cool to make history.
How will it feel to step back in the cage?
I can’t wait. I enjoyed my last fight a lot and really respect my opponent and what we have to do as females in the sport. But, I think that I need to make a statement with my next fight. I need to showcase some new sides of myself, athletically, so, I’m chomping at the bit to get the opportunity. The fight is the real test. You can drill all you want, but when the lights are on, you can hear the noise, and you can feel the mat beneath your feet – alright it’s happening! You want to embrace that moment and make the most of it.
What’s the most likely outcome of your upcoming fight?
It’s an interesting matchup. The girl I’m facing hasn’t fought in three years and she’s only had one fight in a different weight class. It’s really some darkhorse shit. You have no idea what she’s coming with. I’m excited for the challenge of preparing myself for that. From what I’ve seen there’s a jujitsu and strength background. She shouldn’t be coming with anything I haven’t seen before, but I think, me as a fighter, to be honest, I’ve taken a liking to my striking. I’ve taken a liking to it and I need to showcase that I can finish fights. I’ve had two full-length amateur fights, but I think I need to pull the trigger. This’ll be a good opportunity for me to fill that confidence and do that.
Where would you like to be one year from today?
Assuming everything goes well and lines up, timing wise, I’d like to have eight fights under my belt and looking at prospects in the professional divisions that I want to compete in – whether its 135 or 125. I just want the conversation to be started with me and my camp. I’ve had five finishes and I’ll have enough experience to keep my eye on those girls.