IMMAF.org recently caught up with former Amateur competitor and Iceland’s own Sunna Rannveig Davíðsdóttir, Flyweight Gold Medallist of the 2015 IMMAF European Open Championships, who has now revealed her transition to the professional ranks with number-one Women’s MMA promotion, Invicta FC.
“It felt surreal,” explained Sunna while detailing exactly what the transition means to her. “I’ve been visualising and dreaming about this moment for such a long time. I have followed Invicta quite closely. Cris Cyborg is probably my favourite female fighter in the world right now. My friend Joanne “ JoJo” Calderwood, who now is a UFC fighter, used to be signed with Invicta and she has praised the promotion very highly. She feels that they treat their athletes very well and she looks back on her Invicta days with great pride and fulfilment. I could not possibly be happier at the moment, and as they say, a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter!
“Turning pro has been an ambition of mine since I entered a combat gym for the first time. I instantly knew that this was it. Some say that there is no love at first sight. They´re wrong, I fell in love with combat sports instantly and have loved every minute of it ever since. Signing a contract with a big organization like Invicta is a huge accomplishment and something that I still have to pinch myself to check if I´m just dreaming when I think about it. First and foremost, this is a recognition of the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears that I have put into training, competing and being within the sport. Hard work pays off and I´ll continue working hard to make sure that I reach the next goal.”
Despite being a newcomer to the IMMAF international Amateur platform, Sunna conquered the 125lb Flyweight bracket to claim Gold for her country at the European Open Championships last November in Birmingham, England, alongside team mate Bjarki Palsson who earned Gold in the Men’s Welterweight division.
The 30-year-old explained that she still feels great emotion when thinking back to her accomplishments under the IMMAF banner; “It was one of the proudest moments of my life and the biggest accomplishment I have ever made as an athlete. It nearly brings me to tears just to think about it. That´s how proud I am of myself.”
In the European Open final Sunna defeated Swedish World Championships Silver medal winner Anja Saxmark, who she hopes will claim the elusive Gold this year at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas.
“She (Saxmark) surely was a tough opponent and she’ll cause anyone problems in a fight. She has gained a lot of experience and I hope she goes and wins the gold. That way I can say that I beat the girl who has the Gold; Just joking, I wish her all the best.”
Sunna stated that she believes “beyond doubt” that her European Open triumph was a sign that she was ready for the Invicta calling.
“It proved to me that I had done my business on the Amateur circuit and that it was time to make the progression into professional fighting. It proved to the fighting world that I was ready for the step up to the next level. “
Sunna is a product of the renowned Mjölnir MMA Gym in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík. Mjölnir is the sole Mixed Martial Arts training facility in Iceland, a nation with a very small yet highly dedicated MMA commuinity.
“I train with the boys mostly and I gain a lot of experience against heavier and stronger opponents as a result which is always going to stand me in good stead, but it’d be nice to have other females with pro experience to learn from and spar with. The flip side is exactly that, the small fighting community here in Iceland and being a part of the Mjolnir team has helped me gain exposure and make a name for myself which would not necessarily have happened if I lived in some rural town in Minnesota. I would not change a thing, that is for sure. Everything I have done has prepared me for what is about to come.”
At Mjölnir MMA Sunna enjoys the benifits of training at the home of UFC Welterweight contender and BJJ prodigy Gunnar Nelson, in addition to UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor who often travels from Ireland to complete fight preperations at Mjölnir, his second home.
“I love it and feel grateful every day for being able to train with such elite fighters. Gunnar has been a huge influence on me for most of my fighting career. He is a dear friend to me and has always been there for me to give advise and help out patching the holes in my game. Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh and the Irish boys from SBG are always a blast and the times when they visit us or we visit them are usually the best training sessions possible. Recently retired UFC veteran Paddy Holohan has been a really great training partner for me. He is a tricky fighter, with a wealth of knowledge that he does not hold back on. On top of that he is a terrific human being and a great friend.”
While Sunna will no longer be competing alongside Iceland’s Amateur standouts, the National Team is set to feature this year at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas, and she anticipates an impressive showing on the IMMAF World stage.
“I think we have all the chance in the world. We have more experience now and those who will compete will be ready. There are a lot of good fighters coming out of Iceland. You will see!”
The 2016 IMMAF World Championships of Amatuer MMA take place from Tuesday, July 5 – Sunday, July 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, in conjunction with the 5th Annual UFC International Fight Week and Fan Expo.
Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran