by Natasha Feghali and Richard Riosa
The Lance – Sports Intern and Sports Editor
Windsor’s own Randa Markos, a current cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 20 reality show, is guaranteed a chance in the UFC.
Markos, along with the rest of the cast of TUF 20, have signed a ten fight contract with the UFC. She is quickly becoming one of Ontario’s most intriguing female prospects.
This season of TUF has ventured into uncharted territory with an all-female cast and Markos had to fight her way into the house. The season will feature 16 prospective Strawweights as they compete for the inaugural UFC women’s championship at 115 pounds.
“It was the most amazing feeling and I worked really hard to get there,” said Markos.” I had to try out, unlike some other girls who automatically got to be there and were picked to be on the show.”
Born in Iraq, raised in Canada and fighting to win, Markos used to sneak out of her home to attend practice. With a disapproving father and abusive childhood, Markos has the mindset of a champion and is ready to win.
Armed with her skills and a resiliency instilled in her early on in life, Markos compiled a 4-1 record as a professional on her way to the Ultimate Fighter – it’s been quite a rollercoaster.
“My dream was finally coming true,” said Markos. “The tryout was really intense. There were almost 40 girls there and they are amazing fighters and I felt pretty confident in myself, my technique and abilities, however the one on one interviews were hard since I am not good at public speaking. They saw past that and gave me a chance.”
Markos said being a quiet person and living in a home with 16 other female fighters is not easy. The girls trained 3 times a day and, as with previous editions of the show, had zero contact with the outside world and their families. Markos, who has been married since 2011, said she found this be particularly difficult.
All the girls on the show had been ranked before Markos arrived for filming. Eight of the fighters were chosen by the production team and the other 8 girls were required to try out as well as conduct a televised interview. Markos was selected to be a part of UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis’s team. The opposing team was coached by No.1 contender Gilbert Melendez.
“My team got stuck with me, which kind of sucked,” said Markos. “I kind of felt like ‘I am here and I am on my own and they are not confident with me – They don’t know what I have to offer.’ I had no pressure. My mindset was to go in and use what I had been training for. I was going to give it my all and I was going to leave it in the cage.”
Markos won her first fight in the house, which aired during the show’s premier Sept. 10, via unanimous third round decision. As the show is only four episodes in and Markos is awaiting her next TUF opponent, she was contractually unable to give any details about the remainder of the competition.