Ashley Yoder is going through a maturation process in her professional and personal life, one she hopes manifests into a victory at UFC Vegas 14.
Yoder (7-6) will fight Miranda Granger (7-1) on Saturday. "The Spider Monkey" is on a two-fight losing streak and has gone 2-5 in her UFC run. The women's strawweight is treating her upcoming fight as a fresh opportunity.
"Even if I did get a win and it was a shitty performance, we're never guaranteed our jobs. And that's a roundtable. It's not just for me, I think it's pretty much for anyone who fights for the UFC," Yoder said. "It's always in the back of our heads. I'm going into this fight as a clean slate, new fighter. I've had a lot of close decisions but I feel good about this fight. I feel new energy after hiring a mental sports coach. I'm feeling good."
Yoder has been working with mental coach Brian Cain, whose list of clients includes Georges St-Pierre, Donald Cerrone and Rich Franklin.
"It takes a lot for us to admit that we need help and to stick with it. Genuinely wanting it," she said. "People want that change. You talk about it all the time, but what are you doing to actively pursue those steps? You have to put that work in. That's what I'm doing now."
"We have days where we feel like, 'I'm a new person!' And then you come back and you're like, 'What the fuck happened?' I feel like the same Ashley, even worse some days," Yoder continued. "But it's all repetition. You have to keep repeating these things until they manifest inside you."
Yoder now recognizes how these lesson thread through all aspects of her life.
"It goes across the board for life too. Everything that I'm reading in this book as an athlete crosses over into post-career. You need to have communication skills, you need to be able to express yourself, you need to be able to handle things as an adult when you see these triggers. Red lights, how to get them into the green. That goes not just for athletics. That goes for life. Relationships and communication with people," Yoder concluded. "I'm excited to see the progress show in the fight."
UFC Vegas 14 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, November 14. The ESPN+ is headlined by Paul Felder vs. Rafael dos Anjos. Keep up with Fightful for all your fight night coverage.