As a country, Americans hold the military as one of their proudest institutions. Everyday, men and women from all parts of the United States enlist themselves into the armed forces for a plethora of reasons and fight for the freedom of Americans at home and abroad. They come from all different types of backgrounds: fathers, mothers, students, blue and white collar workers.

It takes a special type of person to put one’s self in the line of fire and choose to wear the uniform. That type of person is Liz Carmouche.

As she prepares for her attempt at welterweight gold against champion Marloes Coenen at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, Carmouche goes into the fight with more combat experience than most fighters in the professional ranks — that includes both men and women.

According to Carmouche, the military experience, which spanned over four years and included three tours in Iraq as an electrician on helicopters, has given her a unique angle when dealing with the pressures and stress of the fight game. Her history of being in combat situations provides an edge that most do not have.

“I think one thing that goes in my favor is my military experience,” Carmouche said recently. “Jitters aren’t something that you can have when you’re out in Iraq with your weapon. So that definitely works in my favor.”

A never-say-die attitude is also a characteristic she can identify as owned by her. Clearly, being denied success is not something she pays much attention to, since she feels saying ‘I can’t’ is far from being something in her regular vocabulary.

“I think (one) of the things (the military and MMA) share in common is the inability to give in to the word ‘can’t,’” she said. “We kind of push it out of our repertoire in the military and I think that transfers over into our fighting career. If there’s anything in front of us that we feel is a challenge, it pushes us that much further and that much harder to achieve it. At no point will we ever stop.”

This type of attitude works perfectly for a fighter agreeing to a title fight on short notice. As MMAWeekly.com reported, Miesha Tate was originally scheduled to take on Coenen for the title, but forced off the card due to an injury. Carmouche was offered the opportunity to step in as Tate’s replacement and she was more than willing to take Strikeforce up on the offer.

“I had no hesitations,” she said about accepting the Coenen fight. “This isn’t something that I could chance or turn up. I try and stay in shape year-round, so when they gave the notice I was ready for it.”

So confident is the challenger, she feels next to no concern about her opponent’s arsenal. Although she recognizes the champion’s talent and world-class status, Carmouche also sees herself as a versatile competitor who has high rated attributes all around.

In other words, whatever Coenen brings to the table, Carmouche will have her bases covered.

“Nothing about her game concerns me.” Carmouche said. “I try to stay well rounded and well developed, but she’s the best in the world, so of course, there’s always that concern. But I feel like I’m ready for that challenge.”

For years, the Army’s theme song in advertisements included the words ‘be all that you can be.’ Although she served in a different branch of the military as a Marine, Liz Carmouche still appears to hold that phrase to be true. When commenting about achieving success, the welterweight title challenger said, “I don’t ever want to be told I can’t achieve something, so I work hard to be the best fighter I can be.”


Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for MMAWeekly.com.
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