Welcome back to my hair salon. My first guest, Brittany Brutality, intrigued a lot of readers.
This time, amateur featherweight fighter “The Ace of Spades” Joviana “Jade” Gonzales (1-1-0) – also known as “Lady Jade” – representing the Sunshine State of Florida (originally from Ohio), stopped in for a chat.
Jade at 28 years old is rough and tough, standing at 5 feet 7 and fighting at 145 pounds. She trains with the Full Affliction team, out of Ocala, Florida.
Gonzales scored a 54-second TKO over Ashley Dean at a recent Oct.1 Arena Fighting Championships (AFC) card.
The short and staccato way that she spoke is a lot like her fighting style. Short and rapid fire.
“People let me down so I don’t put my faith in them.”
“THE ACE OF SPADES” LADY JADE
Supermodel Sonya: What started you off fighting and wanting to compete?
Lady Jade: I was encouraged to fight and compete with the MMA team (Full Affliction) that I’m with. As a preteen, I started off with American kickboxing at ten or eleven years old. I did a little sparring with my cousin. Nothing too complex. In college, I got into Muay Thai. I was co-founding another Muay Thai club with another guy at school.
I’m originally from Ohio, so I got most of my hands on intense training with him. I always had a special knack for it. I was always intrigued by it, watching WWF and movies. I knew I had it in me to compete, but I never pushed it until I was 25.
I’m currently 28, so I’m just getting my first amateur fights out the way. I was encouraged by the way I carry myself. People always use me as a bodyguard. I never been approached by many people. They tend not to mess with me. I did fight with kids when I was younger, but they don’t approach me too much. I have had people crap talk, but I felt pretty lethal and confident.
Supermodel Sonya: Did the discipline come with martial arts?
Lady Jade: It definitely came with martial arts and pretty much everything I’ve gone through in life. Martial Arts taught me discipline with training and eating right. It took me years to develop a science with what I can and can’t eat and other things. I wanted the capacity to be able to handle someone at any given moment.
Supermodel Sonya: As far as when it comes to people, who is the most important person in your life?
Lady Jade: Well, the most important person to me would be … I am someone who follows God. So, Christ is my number one motivation. People let you down. There are important people in my family … my coaches and everything. Everyone has a special place, but I’ve learned that people can put you down and I don’t put my faith in them. I have a lot of love and camaraderie with my team. My boyfriend and my coach (Peter Finn) … all my teammates and my cousins that support me with what I do. I love the friends that I’ve made in Florida. I guess there is no one that I put before Christ.
Supermodel Sonya: Tell me more about your coach.
Lady Jade: Coach Finn knows my fight game inside and out. He knows me as a person and my strengths and weaknesses. At this point in my life, I couldn’t fight without him in my corner. He knows exactly how to prepare me and what to say. This man and our team is my family.
Supermodel Sonya: You brought up a point that I wanted to touch on. Being a woman in this sport, is there a lot of pushback with people who believe that women shouldn’t fight?
Lady Jade: I don’t find a lot of that anymore. When I was younger, there was girl wrestlers and stuff. I’d always thought I’d be like that, but didn’t pursue it. I love martial arts. I just wanted to feel like I had a confidence and control in my life. I was just gifted and wanted to sharpen those tools. Like I said, I was never pushing myself to compete until I went to school. I looked for places to train, but I really just got pushed to compete as soon as joined.
Supermodel Sonya: How important does style and hair come into fighting?
Lady Jade: Sometimes I used to try to keep my hair bright with rainbow colors to make it fun. But it was a lot of maintenance with training. So, I kept it brown with splashes of color. It’s pretty natural and cut in layers. I keep it braided down when you’re grappling and doing ju-jitsu. For one of my last fights, I couldn’t find anyone to braid my hair at the last minute, so I used a Muay Thai-styled bun and it was actually kind of cute. I wouldn’t mind wearing it like that for fun. I’ve evolved a lot when it comes to my hair.
Supermodel Sonya: Is there a beauty product that you can’t live without?
Lady Jade: I get whatever I can find that’s natural and pretty affordable. I don’t go too crazy. Every once and a while I’ll get big sexy hair or mousse. There is this green tea treatment that is pretty affordable at the Dollar Store. It’s all natural. Smells nice. It’s in a little green oval bottle. I try to experiment with other things like avocado, olive oil, and Shea butter. I read up on holistic type remedies for things. Cucumbers on the eyes and coffee grounds on the face. That kind of thing. Detoxify. Anything holistic. More natural and more affordable. Nothing bogged down with chemicals.
Supermodel Sonya: Is there something that you’d like your fans to know about you that they don’t already know?
Lady Jade: My Instagram and Twitter shows that I’m a tattoo artist. I did that for the last eight years of my life. They get overlooked because there is a lot of fight stuff going on in my social media accounts, but if you go back through my profiles, you’ll see that kind of stuff. I went to college for art and design.
Supermodel Sonya: There are a lot of disabled people that love MMA. I am one of them. I use a wheelchair and can’t walk very well. What would you tell someone that can’t do all the things that you can do to stay fit?
Lady Jade: Actually, do what you can do. When I see that, it makes me more inspired. I think it’s beautiful. I saw someone last night with a walker and he looked like he could have fought before and he was still supporting the sport. It almost put me in tears. If something happened to me, I would still do what I love and come and support.
That’s more inspiring to me as an athlete (getting emotional). That stuff really helps me. My brother has cerebral palsy and I’ve grown up with that all my life. There was a point in his life where he was at the YMCA and he was helping kids at the Special Olympics. He was probably in the best shape he’d ever been in his life.
He inspired me to find the training that I wanted to do. It helped motivate me to do what I’m doing now. For those who are disabled, do what you love to do, because it pushes other people and touches people in ways that they don’t know about.
Supermodel Sonya: You made a really good point about, “Do what you can.”
Lady Jade: Exactly. God can pull miracles in your life. People just like me and you. I really believe that. It’s not my doing that got me to where I’m at. I wasn’t even supposed to end up in Florida. I was supposed to go to Vegas. My car broke down and my whole path changed. I ended up tattooing for someone that broke my heart. Things got weird, but I ended up staying here. It wasn’t what I saw for myself but if that storm didn’t happen and God wasn’t in control, I would still be in that shop not doing what I wanted to do. Not finding time to train.
Lady Jade: So it’s funny how things happen and how God intervened. He took a mishap and turned it into a miracle or a victory. I fought my first two fights dehydrated because it’s hard for girls to make certain weight classes. Trying to make weight. Just to get a girl fight going, it’s hard to find weight classes. The things we have to go through, it’s a science and an art just to figure it out. God got me through my first two weight cuts.
I lost by one point in one decision and the other one I just got dehydrated with a bad referee. He stopped my takedown and gave me standing eight counts. The girl was holding onto the cage illegally and I had my eyes closed and I was using all my dehydrated force to get her off and then she crawled on my back and choked me.
On a hydrated day, this girl wouldn’t have a chance with me. Those two losses were so discouraging to me, but when I was hydrated properly, I got a 54-second TKO last night (Oct. 1). I split her right eye open. She was bruised on the left. With the losses, I had every reason to say forget it. I was discouraged. I knew that I wasn’t reaching my full potential. God had to humble me and make me a more effective champion. I was underestimated until last night, people didn’t see what my full potential was. I gave God all the glory last night. I was the first person that they interviewed in the cage.
Supermodel Sonya: Is there a lot of camaraderie between the ladies? Or is it every woman for themselves?
Lady Jade: Every woman for herself. I picked up a couple friends here and there. We didn’t compete with each other. But sometimes you get a little camaraderie. I found another girl that I met last night and we became friends. We both beat our opponents. We’re going to train with each other soon. We both gave God the glory too. I guess it can be every man for themselves, but it’s better when you’re on a team. Having a team is very important because I would be nowhere without it.
Supermodel Sonya: When is your next fight?
Lady Jade: It’s up in the air. Possibly in November, December, and for sure, a fight on Jan. 28, 2017. Don’t know about the December date, but I believe it will be in Orlando.
Supermodel Sonya: Anything you’d like to say to an aspiring fighter?
Lady Jade: Believe in yourself. If you feel like you have what it takes to put your body through the conditioning, training camps, and have what what it takes. Train to be a pro. Train like a champion. If you’re gong to do it for fun like a hobby, then do that. You can always be support for a team as well and be encouraging. That’s just as important. If you’re going to do this, then train like a champion. Then, if you’re going to do it as a hobby, there is no shame in that either. It’s just beautiful. I help coach up-and-coming fighters and I also teach kids as well.
Supermodel Sonya: Thanks Lady Jade for stepping into my salon.
Lady Jade: Thanks for having me Sonya.