Cheyanne Vlismas had every reason not to fight at UFC Vegas 44.
The former Contender Series winner revealed after her victory over Mallory Martin that she’s been dealing with a lot of turmoil in her personal life that was only compounded by her recent diagnosis for COVID-19, which prevented her from competing a few weeks ago.
Rather than allowing herself to get mired in doubt and disbelief, Vlismas knew she had to soldier through and it led to a win as well as a Fight of the Night bonus on Saturday night.
“I’m a fighter. It’s what we do,” Vlismas said following her second straight win. “This is my job. This is what I love more than anything. The things I was going through, this is the thing that makes me the most happiest in the world. So why not? I could be on my death bed and I’ll still want to fight. For me, it was never even a question.
“I called my coach and I was like ‘hey I got a fight’ and he asked me about my lungs and I just told him I’ll be OK. As soon as I said that, he said let’s go, let’s do this. For me, I took a risk and now I’m two-times richer. Why not? Always bet on yourself. What’s the worse that was going to happen? I lose a fight? There’s worst things in life that could happen than that. That was my motto.”
According to Vlismas, she was barely able to breathe after first contracting COVID so when the UFC came calling with an opportunity to compete less than a month later, the timing was less than ideal.
Still, she never hesitated to accept the challenge and the end result was exactly what Vlismas wanted.
“A lot of personal things I won’t talk about but as far as my personal life — that’s personal life, this is work life — but the COVID really messed me up,” Vlismas said about the struggles she faced leading into the fight. “I was a COVID patient just two weeks ago and if I didn’t have my coaches who believed in me, my best friend and my parents, I wouldn’t be here and the power of believing in myself. When I got the fight, I was coughing up a lung. I was quarantining in my house. I mean it was just 18 days ago and they called me and I didn’t know if I was going to heal. But I believed in my skill, I believed in me and I believed in my coaches and my team. I just called them and they were like ‘let’s do it.’
“When I got the call, of course I was really sick and I was nervous cause I mean, I couldn’t even breathe. But I just told myself if this girl ran up on me right now while I’m sick, would I fight her? I told myself yes.”
With back-to-back wins on her resume and a pair of post-fight bonuses to help bolster her bank account, Vlismas is anxious to get her personal life sorted out while taking a slight break before booking her next fight.
Of course, Vlismas is saying that now while also acknowledging that when the UFC needs her, she’s always going to step up to the challenge.
“I don’t like to talk about my next step,” Vlismas said. “Because tomorrow is never promised and I always live by that. So I take it day-by-day. Whenever Mick [Maynard] asks me to fight somebody, I always say yes. I never say no to anybody.”