Alexandra Toncheva appeared on my radar about a month ago. I had not heard of her and chances are, you haven’t heard of her either. In May, Toncheva was signed by local, Irish promotion Cage Legacy on a one fight deal to headline their May event in Cork.
Cage Legacy 12
Toncheva’s opponent was a highly touted, 105 lb prospect, Canadian, Katie Saull. In recent times Katie has been working under the tutelage of John Kavanagh and SBG Ireland. In previewing the fight, I thought this would be a slam-dunk for Saull. But fighting, like life, has a habit of biting you in the ass.
I began my Interview with Toncheva, discussing this Cage Legacy fight and in the process figure out why a 3 time gold medalist is struggling to get fights.
I did great at cage Legacy. I had a really heavy training camp. Katie has a lot of skills… striking and grappling and she comes from really famous gyms…Winnipeg…and now SBG Ireland and is a John Kavanagh girl…
Dangerous girl all round. I knew it would be hard. I was impressed that she is a really kind and joyful girl outside cage
The build up to the fight was noticeable for the marked lack of trash talk, from either woman. In fact there were numerous photos of the two together before and after the contest. Refreshing really.
Lady luck played her part in getting Alexandra this fight. She was on Facebook and saw that Cage Legacy were looking for fighters. As simple or as infuriatingly complicated as that.
To be honest I did not expect i would fight on this promotion ! They just wrote on Facebook that they need fighters and I wrote to them that I am ready.
After 2 days they connected with me and were ready with an opponent and contract. I was so happy, that I would fight at 105 lbs and took the fight immediately
Toncheva won by unanimous decision and raised a few eyebrows, especially in this part of the world. The whole experience in Ireland was brilliant from both a professional and personal point of view. It was this win that piqued my interest in interviewing Alexandra. Strange country and tough opponent the odds were stacked against her.
To find that she was a World and two-time European amateur MMA champion was one of the many delightful surprises of our chat. It also explains her confidence in taking this fight or any fight for that matter.
As an aside, not that Guinness need it, but they’ve now got a new Bulgarian convert to spread the word!
Toncheva walks about the place at about 113 pounds so making 105 is never a big deal and is her preferred weight division. She describes herself as small but at 5′ 5″, in this part of the world, that would not be considered very small for a 105 or 115 pound fighter.
My normal weight is 113/ 114 lbs and I am not tall for the division. If there is an opponent like my sizes, there is not a problem.
In Ammy I had to fight 115 lbs. Also I have 2 fights at 115 lbs as a pro. My previous opponent before Katie was Camila Rivarola from the Snake team and that was at 115 lbs.
Alexandra’s champion status comes via IMMAF, winning both the 2015 and 2016 Europeans and the 2016 World 115 lb championship. It is safe to say that if Toncheva’s passport was American or British she would already be signed by one of the world’s largest MMA promotions. But Toncheva is Bulgarian and while she would never say this herself – Allow me – it’s probably holding her back to some degree. Hopefully her talent will not remain hidden for much longer.
After that 2016 win in Las Vegas she had little left to conquer in the amateur ranks and turned professional. Her professional career is a tale of a nomadic existence. Fighting anywhere and anyone she can. Trying to get noticed. Fighting at 105 or 115. From a debut fight in Yokohama, Japan to her latest victory in Ireland.
Toncheva trains out of Desant MMA in Varna, Bulgaria. There is a huge loyalty to her coach and gym. She proudly and instinctively rhymes off the achievements of the gym and the exceptional abilities of her coach, far more fluently than her own triumphs.
My coach Nikolay Dobrudzhanski is the best in Bulgaria and not only Bulgaria I think. In 3 Immaf competitions our gym Desant Varna has 13 golden medals. Not bad at all for a little gym!!
He has also competitors fighting in ACA. I trust him… conditions are not so good here in Bulgaria….For example, We do not have a Cage or a lot of girls and many, many things, but we have a great coach that makes us champions
At this point, I am reminded of John Kavanagh’s book ‘Win or Learn’, he spends the first few chapters describing the journey, in the early years, before the Conor circus, of trying to improve himself and the gym and all the while trying to get noticed on a bigger stage. Improving enough to warrant a place at that table. It requires kindred spirits to keep that fire lit and the flames burning higher. Loyalty and devotion. Toncheva is very much cut from this cloth.
Indeed Desant MMA sound like a similiar place. There is a desire and madness to succeed, that defies logic, resources and circumstance. In Toncheva they may well have someone to draw the spotlight to this little piece of the MMA outer world.
As you have probably noticed, Alexandra is a fluent English speaker and a college graduate. She describes herself in simple terms and her life at this point is 100% geared towards making an impact in professional Mixed Martial Arts.
I am very joyful and love animals, my friends and family. We are really close and luckily my family is behind me always and in every step. I graduated Accountancy and finance and worked in that field for 4 years. Then I qualified as conditional trainer….because accounting is boring for me and I needed to have more time for MMA!!
When I ask what she likes to do outside of the cage, her answers never steer very far from fighting!
I love to read. My favourite fighter is GSP. I am currently reading The Way of the Fight for 3rd time. This man inspires me a lot. The Way of the Fight is a book by GSP. His life as a man… fighter and warrior. I think every fighter should have this book.
Everything in life at the moment is geared towards her career. She works in a profession that compliments her training. Her dog Tyron is the love of her life at the moment and even that has an MMA connection!
I love him so. He is called Tyron because when he was born Tyron Woodley fought Damian Maya and I love those 2 fighters… so when Tyron won and I called my dog after him
The logical question to ask at this point is what comes next for Alexandra Toncheva?
Her ambitions lie in the direction of Invicta, Rizin, Bellator and the UFC. Unfortunately Bellator do not have a 105 division as of yet. But who knows, with a few fighters of Toncheva’s calibre and the increased production line of fighters coming from the amateur IMMAF system, this may change.
For Irish readers, Toncheva’s CV reads like a replica of Leah McCourt’s who is currently making big waves in the Bellator promotion at Featherweight. Toncheva has the same amateur pedigree and success but probably not the same level of opportunity. Yet.
Unlike others, she doesn’t immediately name check the UFC. She know’s the other 3 organisations intimately and thinks very highly of all of them. One thing is for certain no stone will be left unturned trying.
Has Mouth-guard will travel.