Parents come up with all kinds of terms of endearment for their children, but Erin Blanchfield’s given nickname that might not seem so flattering at first.
That’s the moniker the 19-year-old Blanchfield (2-0) carries with her when she competes in combat sports, and the one she will hear announced Friday when she steps into the cage for her third pro MMA bout at Invicta FC 32 at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Okla., where she will fight fellow teenager Kay Hansen in a flyweight bout.
While anyone who’s seen Blanchfield fight can tell you why “Cold Blooded” is a good fit for her, it was her father who made the chilling nickname official.
“That actually came from my dad. Whenever I fight I always have a very plain face, like a poker face, and I just go in there and do what I have to do,” Blanchfield told MMA Fighting. “So he always thought that it was very cold-blooded and it kind of matched the last name, like, Erin ‘Cold Blooded’ Blanchfield, and it stuck.”
Gracing Blanchfield with a nickname was just one way in which Blanchfield’s father and the rest of her family have shown support for her. It was her mom who got her involved in combat sports in the first place, signing her up for an introductory jiu-jitsu class at the age of seven. Two years later, Blanchfield was participating in kickboxing and grappling competitions.
Even when Blanchfield made the decision at age 12 that she wanted to start on the path to becoming a pro fighter, her family backed her all the way. By that time there were strong examples of female fighters she could follow and she specifically mentions pointing to Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate’s exploits in Strikeforce as evidence that this was a viable career choice.
After rising through the ranks competing at NAGA and Grapplers Quest events, Blanchfield burst onto the scene in July of last year by conquering a 16-woman tournament at EBI 12, which aired on UFC Fight Pass. Blanchfield calls it “the biggest thing I’d ever done” and it was likely the most lucrative too as the win earned the then-18-year-old a $10,000 check in addition to a flyweight grappling title.
If that wasn’t enough, she got to hear her name called by Bruce Buffer, the voice of the UFC, the promotion that she hopes to someday be a champion in.
“I didn’t know he was gonna be there, that was awesome,” said Blanchfield.
In March, Blanchfield kicked off her pro career in earnest, picking up a first-round doctor stoppage win over Whittany Pyles, then winning a split decision against Brittney Cloudy in her Invicta FC debut four months later. Over the course of three competitive rounds, Blanchfield stayed cool and composed against an opponent nine years her senior who had a considerable experience advantage in the amateur MMA ranks.
“While I’m competing, I try to stay calm,” said Blanchfield. “I don’t try to get overly excited or frustrated. Afterwards, you can see the relief on my face when I won that split decision, but during a fight, during any type of competition I always try to stay very level-headed and do what I have to do. Because I feel like too much emotion, you’ll mess up and it’s just not good.”
It helps that Blanchfield is regularly tested at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York, where she trains with the likes of MMA veterans Katlyn Chookagian and DeAnna Bennett. She also spends time at Silver Fox BJJ and MK Muay Thai and is currently a full-time biology major at Montclair State University, all back in her native New Jersey.
A proud pupil of esteemed grappling coach John Danaher, it’s Blanchfield’s jiu-jitsu lineage that has her most excited about what Hansen will bring to their Invicta FC 32 matchup. Hansen, who trains out of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu in California, called Blanchfield out after a win at Invicta FC 31, setting up a West coast vs. East coast battle between two decorated gyms.
“I like the aspect that we’re both 19-year-olds, so we’re both up-and-coming prospects so everyone wants to see us fight to see how we could do,” said Blanchfield. “And also the whole Danaher Death Squad vs. 10th Planet, because you haven’t seen that really in the MMA world yet, so you’ll be able to see it now.”