Aspen Ladd isn’t big on letting emotions get the better of her.
If you’ve ever witnessed Ladd following any of her wins in the UFC, the top 10 ranked bantamweight contender isn’t typically climbing the cage or screaming profanities at the top of her lungs in celebration.
The same can be said after she suffered her first defeat this past July when she fell to former UFC champion Germaine de Randamie.
While she was obviously disappointed by the result—and what she believes was an early stoppage—ultimately Ladd just rolled with the punches afterwards and didn’t allow herself to get too downtrodden over the setback in her very young career.
None of that is by accident as Ladd explains how she refuses to let any one victory or single defeat define her as a mixed martial artist or the career she’s still building.
“It’s both either way, whether you get hopped up off a good performance or you get in a deep dark place because you lost, it’s the sport,” Ladd said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “It’s a marathon not a sprint and I’m going to be here a very long time. At least that’s my plan.
“I’m young in my career and I’m doing well in the UFC. I enjoy it so I don’t look at it as this is the end of the world.”
The even-tempered approach to wins and losses has allowed Ladd a realistic approach to her career where she fully understands that there are going to be plenty of highs and lows over the years.
While it doesn’t happen as often with a win, there are scores of fighters who have struggled to get past a tough defeat, especially when there’s so much on the line like a title fight or a No. 1 contender’s bout.
Because de Randamie moved onto a showdown with reigning bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 245, Ladd knows that a win in her last fight probably would have put her in a similar position but she refuses to let one bad night at the office haunt her moving forward.
“Every time I’m preparing for a fight, it’s like the end of the world but every fight and every performance itself is not worth going into a deep dark depression over or get all hopped up on yourself,” Ladd said. “That is the task at hand.
“You handle your business and then re-evaluate after. I have no reason to be a head case about it.”
Ladd also knows that the old adage about how styles make fights is absolutely true, which is why she can figure out what went wrong the last time and fix it rather than feeling like she needs to re-invent the wheel.
“Matchups make fights, too. Even current champions, there might be somebody who’s not even ranked yet and their skill set will impact them in a way that will affect that champion negatively,” Ladd said. “It’s not the rankings. It’s not this matchup versus this matchup.
“It’s skill set versus skill set and that’s going to give that person a problem.”
As she approaches her fight this weekend with Yana Kunitskaya on the main card at UFC on ESPN 7, Ladd is definitely ready to compete again but that’s mostly because she just loves fighting.
A win will likely put her right back on track to where she was six months ago but more than anything, Ladd just wants to get back into Octagon to do what she does best.
“I’m always excited to fight but I’m very, very excited for this one,” Ladd said.
“I thought it made sense because when you get to a certain level in the sport, there’s only a number of fights. Like you look at the roster and think maybe they’ll give me this person. I knew [Kunitskaya] was a possibility and it had been talked about in the past so I wasn’t shocked.”