Stephanie Eggink – Winter is Coming and the Snowflake has the Title (Interview)
By Christopher Jester
Stephanie Eggink recently won the XFC Strawweight Championship when she defeated Angela Mangana, and she is looking forward to continuing her rise through the WMMA 115lb division. In this interview she delves into what makes her a successful fighter, what her inspirations are, who she would fight if she had her way and how the next Star Wars film better not suck. Enjoy this exclusive interview as PunchDrunkGamer gives you the opportunity to get into the mind of Stephanie “Snowflake” Eggink!
PDG: Congrats on winning the XFC Strawweight title. What was the experience like becoming the XFC champion?
Stephanie Eggink: Well, I have only had five fights. So, fighting for a title without very many fights was definitely unexpected and a little bit intimidating. But I felt more confident going into that fight than any other fight I ever had. Even when I watched the video of myself fight, I could see how comfortable I looked. I just looked really, really calm. I was definitely really well prepared for that fight.
PDG: Like you said, you were only five fights in your career. Being 4-1 with only that one loss, you went 2-0 to getting a title shot. How did that sole loss affect you and what was the key ingredient that contributed to that change?
Stephanie Eggink: That loss that I had was one of those fluke happenings, once in your career kind of losses. I got knocked out right away in the fight by a steroid-using brawler (Kaline Medeiros) who threw an overhand right from her hip. That was pretty devastating for me mentally. Just because I got trigger shy after that. I boxed for three years before I started fighting MMA. I fought some pretty good boxers and I was pretty comfortable with getting hit. So when someone could knock me out like that it was a little bit scary. I did not see that ever happening to me. So it was hard for me to get back in but so far since I have been on a three fight win streak. I have done really well. All in the XFC and it’s televised. So it is looking really good for me right now. Especially at 115lbs. I don’t see a lot of people being able to beat me at strawweight. I am just too much of a beast.
PDG: Speaking of that boxing career, you were a member of the United States National Boxing Team. How did that prepare you for your transition into MMA?
Stephanie Eggink: I was more comfortable. The sports are so different but when it comes down to it, a fight is a fight. I had like 15 boxing fights. So I did not have that freak out experience like some people have when they first fight. I am comfortable fighting, I guess you can say. No matter what style. I am used to that feeling and that experience. That definitely helped, especially when I first started fighting amateur MMA because those girls you are fighting have never done anything. So that’s really their first time in a combative situation. Whereas me, I had whole lot of boxing experience and I wasn’t as unfamiliar.
PDG: Now that you are champion, among your peers in XFC, which fighter do you best match-up with as a possible contender?
Stephanie Eggink: I have no idea because I have already beaten everyone in the division. I don’t know who else he (John Priscoe) is going to have to bring in. Maybe some new blood. Unless he is planning on having me fight rematches. Unless there is someone I don’t know about or someone taking some time off. I just don’t know anyone at 115lbs that I’ll be fighting. So I think he is probably going to have to bring in new people or have me do a rematch, which I really wouldn’t like at this point in my career. I don’t have many fights and I don’t want to fight people I have already fought. I would much rather fight new people. So we’ll see. A lot of the girls I want to fight are in Invicta FC, unfortunately. So we’ll see what happens there.
PDG: Speaking of that, would you be interested in moving up in a weight class if there was a fight that interested you in XFC and what do you think is the next step for you if XFC does not work out? Would Invicta FC be the next place you want to go?
Stephanie Eggink: If I was to leave XFC, Invicta would definitely be where I would look because of the amount of girls that they have. I wouldn’t worry about who my next opponent is because they have such a huge list of fighters. They have all the females right now. And about going up a weight class I wouldn’t mind that but I want to be in the top five at 115lbs. So fighting at 125lbs might give me a payday but it’s not going to do anything for my ranking. So I would prefer to stick to 115lbs to get me a higher ranking. But if there is no other option in XFC, I definitely wouldn’t mind taking the 125lb belt which they are opening up next month.
PDG: Since we’re on your size in general, you have pretty good height advantage (5’8”) over most of the fighters in your weight class. How significant is that in a fight?
Stephanie Eggink: Way significant. Even if a fighter has better technique than me, like Angela Mangana had way more experience than me but it didn’t matter. Like when I say, “I’m a beast” I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. By time I get in the cage I am close to 135lbs as opposed to when I weighed in at 114lbs. Take Angela for example, she only walked around at 118 or 119lbs. So there is definitely a size advantage. Even if you have a whole lot of skills, it is still hard to go against someone bigger than you. It really is, it definitely plays a huge factor. That is one reason it is hard for me to say I am going to go up to 125lbs when I know I am so dominant at strawweight. I am willing to cut that much weight and other people are not. I am comfortable doing what other people are not and that’s what is making me successful.
PDG: If you were playing fantasy matchmaker, which fighter from any organization would you most want to fight?
Stephanie Eggink: I want to fight Carla Esparza.
PDG: And why is that?
Stephanie Eggink: She is the Invicta FC champion and I know I can beat her. I know it. All she does is take people down and lay on them and I can stop her from taking me down. I am so much stronger than her. So, I know I could stop her from taking me down. I would love to go “beast mode” on her. I also want to fight Felice (Herrig) but not because I dislike her. Me and Felice had this tiff before I even called her out in XFC. I would love to fight her just because we have been jokingly bad-mouthing each other for so long. She would be someone I’d like to fight because she likes to stand and bang.
PDG: When you look at the growth of MMA, particularly Women’s MMA, where do you think it will be in the next few years?
Stephanie Eggink: Hopefully it will be at the same level as the men. And when I say level, I don’t mean just media attention and the big fights but by the level of talent. Because the talent pool is still small for women and there is a lot more talent in the male divisions than the females. I might take some flak for saying this but in the average woman fight – I am not talking top five fighters but nearly everyone else – you see a lot of brawling but not clean fighting. A lot of just craziness. That is not necessarily the same for men. So hopefully within the next few years you can see the talent pool get deeper and deeper for women. I think with that will come a lot more respect and then the bigger shows and the bigger paydays and more attention for WMMA.
PDG: So what do you think is limiting that skill growth or that talent pool? What could change to make that talent pool grow even more?
Stephanie Eggink: Well, I think it is going to grow now just because of the attention the sport is getting and more girls are getting into it. There weren’t as many girls that were into it even a few months ago as there are now. I don’t even think most girls thought of it as an option. Still, if you go to a gym, there are like one or two girls that fight and the rest are guys. You’ll see some girls doing cardio or whatever. In a gym of 25 guys, there might be one girl that fights. The more you get girls training, the greater chance the talent pool will keep getting deeper and deeper.
PDG: In your opinion, do you think the UFC will do more for promotion of women or do you think Invicta FC will do more?
Stephanie Eggink: The UFC is more well known, so in that aspect they are, but what people don’t know is how much Invicta is doing because Invicta is only showcasing women. On a card you may have 12 all awesome women fights, where as in the UFC you may get one. But people don’t watch Invicta like they do the UFC, for now anyways. So right now the UFC is definitely going to lead the way but I see Invicta making their way up there soon.
PDG: Anyone with a Twitter account can notice that you and Shayna Baszler are really close friends. How is having a fighter like her beneficial to you as a fighter, a professional, and on a personal-level?
Stephanie Eggink: Well we live together too. So we’re around each other all the time. She is the best coach that I ever had in the sense that she’s a girl first of all and she knows a lot. She has been doing this for a very long time and she knows what works and what doesn’t. She knows what skills play out on my side. She is a veteran and has a lot of experience. I can learn more from her in an hour than I can from a lot of different coaches in months. She has definitely upped my game technically.
PDG: Speaking of Twitter and Shayna, you were in some really heated debates when she lost her fight on The Ultimate Fighter 18. How was it watching that fight and then having to face the negative comments on Twitter?
Stephanie Eggink: I can’t handle that shit at all. I am a really bad debater. I go from having a normal argument to flying off the handle and saying, “Fuck you, you’re an idiot!” I can’t do it without getting irrational. So I really just can’t read any of it because all I would want to do is comment. I want to do it in an intelligent way, but I do it in a lashing out, emotional I am going to kill you and your family kind of way. So I just try to avoid all of that. But it was definitely hard to watch. Obviously I knew the outcome prior but it still hurt. It was definitely hard to watch. It is harder to watch her lose live though than on TV.
PDG: Let’s stay on pioneers of WMMA and MMA for a second. Which pioneer, male or female, has inspired you the most?
Stephanie Eggink: Has inspired me? Or is still inspiring me? Because when I first started, when I was still boxing and just started training jiu-jitsu and was trying to get into the sport, Tara LaRosa was like my idol. She was my size and had so many fights. She was like my hero for a while. As I have gotten more into the sport, obviously who you idolize changes a little bit but I would definitely say Tara was one right off the bat. It went from her to Megumi Fujii. Megumi Fujii is still like my #1. That girl is bad. Everything she does from striking to jiu-jitsu.
PDG: Where did the nickname “Snowflake” come from?
Stephanie Eggink: That is a story I am not actually allowed to tell you the true answer to. So, I will tell you that it is because I am white and I am unique. But just know it’s not the real answer. Maybe one day I will be allowed to give that information out. It is a long story and it involves a few people well-known and it has some history. Do you know who Sam Wilson is?
PDG: Yes I do.
Stephanie Eggink: She gave me that name when I was still fighting amateur. There was an incident with her manager and everything. There is a real reason behind it. Not that I am a druggie but I got accused of being one. She thought that was really funny, so she started calling me “Snowflake”. The name kind of just stuck. Now it’s all over my arm.
PDG: What was training like at Gracie Tampa before you moved to South Dakota?
Stephanie Eggink: It was different than training with Shayna and it helped me develop the beginning of my career and I definitely still consider myself a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter. But I am not in Tampa anymore. I am way up north.
PDG: What is a typical day of training like for you?
Stephanie Eggink: Well, I am in paramedic school right now. I am not able to train two-a-days anymore; like I was doing before. So pretty much I go to school in the mornings until about 3 and then I am at the gym from like 5 until 9 PM. Training various techniques because my next fight is probably going to be a boxing match. So my focus right now has been boxing, striking, and strength and conditioning instead of grappling, wrestling, and MMA stuff. That definitely limits what I am doing. Normally, I would do an hour of jiu-jitsu and an hour of Muay-Thai or whatever. Now I am strictly boxing.
PDG: We heard from a very reliable source that you are huge Star Wars fan.
Stephanie Eggink: Oh yeah! There is no bigger Star Wars fan than me.
PDG: Which is your favorite movie?
Stephanie Eggink: Probably Return of the Jedi. I think it has the most badassery fight scenes in it. I don’t really care for the newer ones. I say I don’t care for newer ones but I have seen them 100s of times each. They just don’t have the same feel. So I am kind of afraid that the newer ones coming out are going to have even less of a true force feel but we’ll have to wait and see.
PDG: And that was the next question, what is your opinion on the new trilogy, at least J.J. Abrams in the director’s chair for Episode 7?
Stephanie Eggink: Well, I don’t know if you’ve seen the new Star Treks but they are pretty awesome. I am hoping that awesomeness transitions over into Star Wars too. I thought the last ones were a little too corny or more like childish. I hope these newer ones are not like that. There were certain characters in the last Star Wars that I thought could have been eliminated completely. Like Jar Jar Binks. Really?! That was just ridiculous.
PDG: So, outside of MMA what are some of the things you particularly enjoy? Any video games or other hobbies?
Stephanie Eggink: I am an outdoors lover. I like hiking and rock climbing and going hunting. I really like to be outside. Oddly, I am one of those people who doesn’t play a lot of video games myself. But certain games, I really enjoy watching people play. Games that have really good cinematography. Like the new game Shayna just got. I love watching her play that game. I cannot think of what it’s called. I am having a brain fart right now. Oh, Grand Theft Auto V! That has very good cinematography to it. It’s like watching a movie and also games like Mass Effect 3, that one I actually played with her.
PDG: Are you and Shayna looking forward to the next generation systems, like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?
Stephanie Eggink: Oh definitely! Oh yes, gaming is a major part of Shayna’s life.
PDG: Thank you for taking out the time for this interview. Was there anything else you would like say for your fans and your followers?
Stephanie Eggink: Thank you and thanks to all fans and sponsors! Follow me on Twitter. I am @00snowflake. I am a good person to follow because I post ridiculous shit all the time.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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