Sonya Deville is swimming in a sea of MMA and pro wrestling crossover stars, and she's not opposed to doing more of it herself.
Before committing fully to pro wrestling, Sonya Deville almost headed to the world of mixed martial arts. So much so, she competed in several amateur fights. Even though she's performing for the top wrestling brand in the world, she's well aware of the benefits of expanding. When speaking to Fightful recently, Deville said time is on her side.
"I’m 25 years old, I’m relatively young. I think I’m the third youngest female on the RAW and Smackdown right now. I don’t say no to anything. Anything is an opportunity and possibility and I know I’m more than capable of competing in both. So, I’m open to it," Deville told us. "No, I don’t train martial arts that much, so I definitely have to put the time in if I was gonna take a fight. But I’m just so engulfed in wrestling right now and working on my in-ring work, so that’s definitely where my focus is right now."
Deville last competed in the cage in 2015. WWE's roster has no shortage of crossover stars, with Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir, Brock Lesnar, Jack Gallagher, Rezar, Matt Riddle and several others joining Sonya with MMA experience.
Sonya brings some of said experience into the squared circle with some of the nastiest knee strikes in the game. Making the switch from trying to take faces off to protecting an opponent hasn't been tough for her, though.
"It’s just called talent, know what I’m saying?," Deville joked. "I will say this, I’ve never had any complaints. So far, so good. Fingers crossed."
Sonya was no stranger to the screen when joining WWE, either. It was by chance that she even discovered pro wrestling, which molded her competitive spirit with her desire to put on a show.
"I think the big deciding factor for me was that growing up I loved acting and loved entertaining," Deville said. "I made an independent film when I was 18 / 19 years old, so I knew I had a love and a passion for that. And I’m obviously an athlete and I love to fight and be physical. And pro wrestling I didn’t even know really existed, and when I found it I was like, “Wait a second, this is a combination of the two things I literally love the most.” So I feel like it was meant to be that I end up in wrestling. I think this is my true love."
Performing and competing aren't the only screen time that Deville has seen. She was an AfterBuzz regular as a panelist and contributor. The outlet has churned out the likes of Chrisy Olson and several others who would go on to join her in the WWE.
"I attribute AfterBuzz to a lot of my success. Not only because Maria [Menounos] and Kevin [Undergaro] are mentors to me and they’ve helped me so much, but also because AfterBuzz, being an on camera host, as you know, it gives you a sense of confidence. And the ability to communicate and express yourself. So I would definitely look forward to acting in the future. I’m working with an acting coach right now actually in L.A. and continuing my craft in that field because that’s something I’m really passionate about. It’s like the NXT of entertainment. It’s so funny and so many people have over from AfterBuzz: Cathy Kelley, Johnny Loquasto. So, it’s definitely proof in the pudding it works," said Deville.
As far as adapting goes, she had to when joining the tag team division ranks alongside Mandy Rose a couple of years back.
"I’m pretty adaptable," said Sonya. "I grew up playing team sports; lacrosse, basketball, and soccer. Then I got into MMA which is a one woman sport. So I’m adaptable, I can do it all. Mandy and me have natural chemistry. It kind of just worked."
You can see our full conversation with Sonya Deville at the top of the page.