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Muay Thai champ Tiffany van Soest says she’s ‘one or two years away’ from breaking out in MMA

After making her name as a champion kickboxer under the Lion Fight banner, winning titles in two separate weight classes, Tiffany van Soest is looking to expand her horizons.

The 27-year-old "Time Bomb" recently signed deals with the kickboxing promotion Glory, as well as an MMA deal with Invicta FC. She competes May 13 at the Glory 30 Super Fight Series against Emma Hasshass in Los Angeles.

And, though an opponent hasn’t been named as of yet for her Invicta FC debut -- which will double officially as her MMA debut -- van Soest says the fight will take place on Sept. 23.

How will she manage not only transitioning from the art of eight limbs to MMA, but compartmentalize her training as she attempts to do both concurrently? The versatile Van Soest says she’s working on it.

"I think right now the most difficult thing to figure out is the in-between stuff," she said during an interview on The MMA Hour. "Obviously the groundwork is my main priority, because it is my weakest area, but the transition, just the really subtle changes I’m going to figure out as I go. I don’t think it should be too much of a problem. I’ve been training MMA and helping out some of the girls in the UFC, like Carla Esparza, I’ve been working with Jessica Penne. For years, I’ve been sparring partners with them, I’ve been learning from them a little bit here and there.

"So I’m not completely foreign, completely new to MMA. But now it’s just really about sinking my teeth into the ground work and training it for myself instead of as a partner for these other girls."

Van Soest, not unlike Tyrone Spong who went back and forth between Glory’s ring and WSOF’s cage, has tremendous upside, given her credentials. She’s gone 10-2-1 in the kickboxing realm, but simply doesn’t see sticking with Muay Thai as a sustainable career move.

Asked if transcendent stars like Ronda Rousey, who built around her Olympic-level judo bedrock to take MMA by storm, have prompted her to transition into MMA, van Soest said it boils down to a number of elements.

"No it’s not really…I mean, it’s about the money a little bit but for the most part, if Muay Thai paid what MMA pays, I’d be happy to do that forever," she told Ariel Helwani. "But for the entire length of my Muay Thai career, people have been asking, when are you going to do MMA? When are you going to transition into MMA? And I’ve always been like, ‘no, I’ll wait, I’ll wait, I’m really happy doing Muay Thai.’

"But it finally just got to a point where I’m like, you know what, I’ve got to at least give it a shot. I’m young enough, I’ve got the skills enough, I’ve got the resources. I don’t want to think ‘what if.’ I don’t want to spend my whole life wondering, ‘what if I did do MMA?’ So I felt like I won a few titles in Muay Thai in two different weight classes. I felt like I’ve done a lot for the sport, done a lot for myself. I’m proud of what I’ve done in Muay Thai, and so I figured why not pursue something else? Why not give it a shot?"

Not that she doesn’t see big things happening for her in the near future. Van Soest said it’s "only a matter of time" before she carves out her place in the pantheon of well-paid athletes.

"One or two years away," she said.

Van Soest’s ultimate goal is to end up in the UFC.

"Of course, yeah," she said. "I don’t want to do this just to do it halfway. If I’m going to do it I’m going to do it right. Go big or go home."

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