The only time that confidence might have wavered was in the year between her last fight in Invicta FC and her UFC debut. A couple opportunities presented themselves, but the short-notice nature would’ve forced her into a difficult weight cut. Her time eventually came, and she immediately asserted herself in the division. On the surface, Octagon jitters never appeared, and even when she fought in front of a proper crowd at UFC 269, she stuck to her guns and relatively rag dolled Maverick from bell-to-bell.
Blanchfield believes her biggest strength is her ability to stay in the moment and remain calm, something she cultivated after her first few professional fights. That understanding allows her to, in her mind, “deal with anything” better than her opponent. The only thing she hasn’t accomplished to this early point of her UFC run is earn a finish, but she knows that’s not something she can push for too heavily.
“I feel pretty good with how I’ve been performing,” she said. “I feel like my flow and stuff in my fights has been good. I feel like the biggest thing is I really want to get a finish. I haven’t gotten a finish in a while, and that’s something I’m definitely chasing, but I’m not going to force anything. I feel like how I’ve been fighting is working really well for me, and I feel super dominant. I think those finishes will come. I’m still growing as a fighter, so I feel like I just need to work on little details and stuff like that and just kind of keep fighting the way I am, and I think those finishes will come.”
What she also knows is coming is the increased spotlight on herself. She laughed a little bit at some of the interactions back home when someone recognizes her, something that has happened more after her performance at UFC 269. She doesn’t worry about it too much, but Blanchfield is intentional about the impression she gives to younger kids, fretting about the weird feeling of being younger than most adults but kids seeing her as a big-time professional athlete.
So far, so good, though. From the outside, it seems like Blanchfield has it all under control heading into 2022, which projects to be a critical year in the division. The young talent has ingratiated itself into the thick of the rankings, and a new crop of contenders is needed sooner than later as Shevchenko continues to chew up anyone who earns a shot at the belt.