The sport of MMA could be receiving another crossover athlete from the world of boxing very soon.
Multi USA Boxing national champion Danyelle Wolf recently posted a highlight video showcasing some of her skills beyond throwing punches in a ring. Judging from the video and her accomplishments in the ring (such as being a multi Continental Champion and a national Golden Gloves champion), the women of whichever promotion she signs with are in for a rough outing.
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We’ve seen boxers enjoy success in MMA such as Holly Holm but the Olympian promises to be a different animal once the (boxing) gloves come off. WSOF’s Jake Heun knows her well and trains with her at Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand. Heun was very complimentary of Wolf’s prospects as a MMA fighter.
“She’s crazy, crazy talented, crazy driven. She’s gonna go far in this sport,” Heun stated.
Although she had been hoping to compete in the Olympic Games next month, the situation was such that Wolf was unable to compete in Rio.
“There are 10 weight classes for women and only three of the 10 get to go to the Olympics,” Wolf said to WSOF.com. “Unfortunately, my weight class isn’t one of those so I won’t be able to compete. There were rumors that they would add mine in 2020 but I didn’t want to wait until then.”
Rather than sit on the sidelines hoping for the Olympic Committee to add her division, Wolf is turning her focus to the MMA game. Whereas most would think a transition between boxing and MMA would be difficult, it’s been a near-seamless transition for the Olympic boxer.
“Doing this crossover to MMA is almost like second nature to me,” Wolf stated. “The kicking and body motions feel like I’m playing soccer. Except I’m kicking some person’s head in.”
She’s trained at King’s MMA, home to some of the world’s best fighters including Fabricio Werdum and Rafael dos Anjos. It’s also the home of one of the greatest coaches in MMA history, Rafael Cordeiro. Wolf has also taken her training overseas, working with the trainers at Tiger Muay Thai. There, she worked with Master Yod who has helped coach former UFC welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre. Wolf has also done some work with the Mayweather camp and worked with Joel Diaz and the Diaz brothers.
Enduring the grueling schedule of going through the Olympic trials along with honing her skills across multiple martial arts requires one hell of a commitment. Always on the move, Wolf has learned to embrace the grind as the saying goes.
“I’ve been in sports every month of my life,” Wolf stated. “It’s crazy when you think of it. Sometimes people will do one sport and kind of relax in the off-season. I’ve always been in sports since a very young age.”
Being a multi-sport athlete is becoming a more prevalent sight in young athletics. Rather than taking time off, parents are encouraging their kids to participate in multiple sports to stay active and keep their athletic edge. While this has given Wolf an unparalleled level of athleticism, it hasn’t always been on display for fight fans.
“I always felt kind of held back in boxing,” Wolf admits. “I wasn’t always able to use all of my athletic skills in boxing. That’s why I was drawn to MMA because I can use all of my athleticism with the kicks, the wrestling and the jiu-jitsu.”
Wolf has definitely used those gifts while learning the essential skills for MMA. Competing in her first jiu-jitsu competition, Wolf took home two gold medals for winning her division and the absolute division. She also competed in the IBJJF World Championship, taking home a gold medal.
Her success in combat sports has lead her to success outside the realm of “face punching” as well. She’s been featured in a number of local and national media outlets, including ESPN’s “Body Issue” in 2014.
“I love everything about my body,” Wolf said to ESPN. “One of my pet peeves is when people say they hate something about their body. Why aren’t you doing something about it if it bothers you so much?”
With her MMA debut all but inevitable, Wolf admitted that she’s seen an uptick in people reaching out to her. Questions about when she’ll debut, where she trains and the like are questions that always seem to come up. With the accolades of being a multi-time national boxing champion and the fame of being featured in ESPN The Magazine, it would be easy to lose sight of the ultimate goal.
“I’m not worried about anything except training my ass off to be the deadliest fighter in the world,” Wolf stated. “The only thing that matters is being a weapon and winning… It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. You don’t just throw it down. You work on this corner, work on that corner, work some in the middle and then eventually it becomes a big picture.”
Crafting a masterpiece is something Wolf is familiar with. Outside of hitting the pads, she also uses her hands to paint some beautiful works of art. Like a warrior finding their zen, Wolf finds art to be the perfect balance to her athletic endeavors.
“I feel that MMA is like a blank canvas,” Wolf said. “It’s similar to the ones I paint on… I can use my creativity with MMA just as if I were painting. I can create my own style of all the martial arts. Painting is very much like MMA. They are both empty canvass when you think of it. What you “throw down” on the canvas is what you will get out!”
Although no official debut date has been announced, MMA fans will surely be in for a treat whenever the Olympian chooses to officially strap on the four-ounce gloves. She’s proven to be a destructive force in a boxing ring, inflicting detached retinas, broken noses, and shattered faces with 14-ounce gloves, just imagine the damage she is going to do with 4-ounce gloves.