Lauren Murphy“No, I didn’t see any of this happening.”

This is what female 135-pound fighter Lauren Murphy says when she looks back over her year in 2013.

Having started out the year a virtual unknown, Murphy has quickly risen up the ranks and now finds herself on the cusp of an Invicta FC championship.

And to think, none of this might have happened if she had turned down another path just prior to the start of the year.

“At this time last year I was kind of at a crossroads between fighting and really going for it or going home and finding a day job and settle down with my life,” said Murphy. “I really didn’t know what to do.

“This sounds kind of stupid, but I said a prayer and over the next couple of months things started to develop and I think this is where I am supposed to be.”

Not only has Murphy come far in her career this year, but she feels her game has also grown by leaps and bounds in her wins over Jennifer Scott in Legacy FC and Kaitlin Young and Sarah D’Alelio in Invicta.

“Of course, you always want to do better, but I think just watching my growth as a fighter has been pretty impressive to me,” she told MMAWeekly.com.

“It’s pretty awesome to look back at my fight with Jennifer and think how I did so much wrong in that fight, and how I improved in my fight with Kaitlin and improved even more with my fight with Sarah.”

Next up for Murphy (7-0) is a 135-pound Invicta title fight against Miriam Nokamoto (2-0) this Saturday in Kansas City.

“I’ve just got to go out there and get in (Nakomoto’s) face,” said Murphy. “Physically, I know I’m there. I know I’ve got great cardio, I know I’m strong for my size, and have been improving a lot. So for me, I just want to stay in her face and not back down and not take any (expletive) from anybody.”

Going into her first major title fight as part of what is arguably Invicta’s biggest event to date, Murphy acknowledges that there is added pressure, but for her it’s something that she intends to feed off of and thrive on.

“It’s a big deal to fight for Invicta always, no matter where you are on the card,” she said. “Every girl who is not signed with Invicta wants to be with Invicta. As far as the pressure of how many people are going to be watching and the press and that, I kind of like it. It really motivates me and makes me want to fight.”

Having built herself into one of the top female fighters in the world after nearly having stepped away, Murphy is thankful for 2013 and is looking forward to accomplishing more in 2014.

“I think next year is going to be a really big year for me,” she said. “I think I came into my own as a fighter this year and did some really big things this year, and I just want to do it bigger and better next year.”

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