Waitress turned MMA fighter prepares for Saturday night bout

Rachel Wiley trains for her third career Mixed Martial Arts fight.
Rachel Wiley trains for her third career Mixed Martial Arts fight.

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Hooters waitress by day, Mixed Martial Arts amateur fighter by night.

Don’t let her smile fool you – Rachel Wiley means business.

“Knock people out,” Topeka native Wiley said. “It’d be cool to knock somebody out.”

The 18-year-old Wiley got her first taste of MMA as a ring girl. After accepting an invite to come workout at a gym, she thought she’d give it a shot herself.

“I thought I’d just do it like once, but after that you know it’s kind of addicting,” Wiley said. “Just the adrenaline rush I guess, so I just wanted to feel it again, and again, so, and again.”

If you’re wondering what a punch from this amateur fighter feels like?

“Oh it doesn’t feel good,” Rachel’s trainer Shanon Woodward said. “We had our last hard sparring match last night, and she got me. She can definitely put her punches together.”

Wiley is now preparing for her third career fight, the second one in her hometown of Topeka.

She has a 1-1 record and enters Saturday night’s bout knowing inexperience isn’t a huge priority.

“Once you get in there your adrenaline is going so crazy you just kind of forget, but you just kind of roll with the punches,” Wiley said. “Literally.”

A fight strategy might go out the window, but expectations from her and her coach definitely don’t.

“I expect that she’s going to win in the first round,” Woodward said. “That’s what I’m expecting. With her training, and the work that she’s put in, I don’t see it going any further than the first round.”

Fun for her?

Probably, fun for her opponent, not likely.

“I expect to win, obviously, and I expect to have a fun time doing it,” Wiley said.

Wiley trains at United Martial Sciences in downtown Topeka along with other well known fighters including No.1 WBA Light Heavyweight contender Marcus Oliveira.

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