By Adrienne Meehan | July 7, 2018–Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi is not your typical mixed martial artist.  She’s proven herself in the ring many times over the past decade and a half, most recently last night at the TUF 27 Finale where she put a ground stoppage on Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak in second round, advancing to 22-14, and putting her opponent at 10-4.

This was their second time fighting each other in the octagon; their first fight in 2011 resulted in a win for Honchak by rear naked choke.


Modafferi has demonstrated that a fighter can be successful without negativity and without taking herself too seriously. 

At weigh-ins, Modafferi is more likely to be dressed as an anime character than to be frowning or trash-talking her opponent.  She is also an avid fan of exciting socks, with over 200 pairs in her collection. 

After years of being asked for advice on how to maintain a positive attitude, Modafferi wrote a book on the subject filled with many life lessons she attributes to her mother.  Modafferi always makes time to respond to her fans and even responds to people who contact her with negative comments; she believes it is usually a misunderstanding rather than animosity.  When asked about her opponents in the octagon, Modafferi always has something positive to say and is supportive of her fellow female martial artists.   

The Happy Warrior has been training martial arts since she was a teenager.  She trained in Taekwondo, Kenpo Karate, and earned her brown belt in Judo all before graduating from high school.  Modafferi started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the summer between high school and college.  During her college years, she trained at a variety of martial arts schools, including multiple schools in Japan. 

Modafferi made her MMA debut in 2003 and has fought at least once a year for the past 15 years.  Currently, she trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas.  When not training, Modafferi performs Japanese-English translation services and teaches the kid’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes at Syndicate MMA.  

Modafferi has been waiting for another fight all year.  Despite asking the UFC to schedule her for a fight, Modafferi had to wait until April for last night’s fight to be announced. 

Since the beginning of the year, Modafferi has been training and maintaining her weight such that she could fight with a week’s notice.  

Modafferi has now won four times by TKO and 5 times by submission. 

In order to achieve her stated goal of winning by straight up KO, and to round out her game, she has been focusing on Thai Boxing. 

Despite her recent emphasis on striking, Modafferi prefers grappling to striking because “with Jiu-Jitsu you can make [your opponent] tap out without causing pain.” And in fact she won Friday night on the ground, though there was definitely quite a bit of striking while the contenders rolled, and there was a good bit of standing action as well.

Modafferi hopes to fight often in 2018 and is not afraid to fight anyone in her weight division – although she would prefer not to fight her teammates. With last night’s win, her first in the UFC, you can bet more doors will open for the Happy Warrior.