Tiffany van Soest grew up at sea level, right by the California coastline outside Los Angeles, but in recent weeks she has floated a full mile above it, training in Denver for her fight at next week’s GLORY 55 NEW YORK event.
Usually the former super-bantamweight champion trains in San Diego, but for this fight she decided to mix things up a bit. In conjunction with her head coach Alex Palma she arranged to spend a few weeks in ‘The Mile-High City’ at Easton Martial Arts.
“It’s just been a different feel, a different atmosphere. The change of scene was good. I did the first half of my camp with Alex in San Diego and then he sent me here to the mountains. He’s in touch with coach Tony Cummings here, so its a joint effort,” she says.
“Up here I am out of my comfort zone. I’m in thin air, training at elevation, and I’m away from my usual surroundings. Things got a little low at one point; my grandmother passed not long after I lost my belt to Anissa Meksen and that was really tough.
“I felt like I hit rock bottom at one point but then the only way from there was up. I was able to move through it and now I’m back on track and looking to get my belt back.”
Van Soest mentions that her grandmother was of Dutch origin and loved yellow tulips, so she will be wearing yellow into the ring for next Friday’s fight with GLORY newcomer Sofia Olofsson. (She then wonders aloud whether Olofsson might wear yellow to the ring, being Swedish; yellow and blue are Sweden’s national colors).
This is an important fight, both for the protagonists and for the women’s division. Olofsson is highly accomplished in Muay Thai, her main sport, and she’s won numerous titles and plaudits, including a brace of gold medals in the highly regarded IFMA (International Federation of Muay Thai Amateurs) competition.
“Yeah she’s solid in Muay Thai, all the hardcore Muay Thai fans are over the moon about this one,” says Van Soest.
“Being a two-time IFMA gold medallist is quite a big deal. She’s got experience, she won the latest one about two months ago so she’s got momentum.
“But, this is kickboxing not Muay Thai. It’s a different game and I have the lead on her in terms of experience under these rules. She’s got mental and physical toughness but she’s heavy on clinching and elbowing; [GLORY] is a different game. And I am coming in hot.”
Van Soest’s temperament is ‘hot’ because the last time she appeared in the GLORY ring was at GLORY 48 NEW YORK back in December, where she lost her belt to Anissa Meksen by way of a narrow decision.
“It’s what happens when you leave it to the judges. It bothers me, sits on my conscience. That was supposed to be a big showing for me at a famous venue and I didn’t get the result I wanted. So now this time I get the chance to go get my win at The Garden. It’s not exactly a do-over but it’s kind of like that for me,” she explains.
“I want a rematch with Meksen next if I win, absolutely. She’s been doing her thing since she won the belt but nobody has given her a hard time like I did. I am #1 ranked contender, she’s fighting the #4 ranked contender next.
“She can get one more defense out of that, I guess, but then she’s going to have to fight me again and I am getting my title back.”
Van Soest faces Olofsson at GLORY 55 NEW YORK on Friday, July 20 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in downtown New York City. The fight takes place on the Superfight Series section of the card.
GLORY 55 SuperFight Series will stream live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on Friday, July 20.