Randa Markos put on arguably her best performance to date when she submitted Angela Hill in the first round at UFC Nashville in March.
The Iraqi-born Canadian credits her victory to working with a mental coach, something she felt was needed following her decision loss to Nina Ansaroff last July.
"It was after my Nina Ansaroff fight, it went really badly," Markos told theScore. "I didn’t even realize that I had a problem. After that fight, my corners came to me and they were like, 'You shouldn’t be so nervous (and) freaking out before you go out there.' My superstitions were through the roof. ... That’s when I realized I needed to straighten things out in my head. Training really, really hard is great and everything, but if your mind’s not there, it’s useless."
Markos (9-6-1) is set to battle former UFC strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha at UFC 239 on July 6. Along with physical training, Markos says she's working daily on her mental preparation, too.
"I’m huge into the mental game right now. I meditate before bed, every night," Markos said. "We do drills and stuff while I’m training, when I'm not training, all those thoughts go in your head. ... How to fix it and think properly. All day I’m working on it."
She added: "We visualize, we write things down. Pros and cons of everything. Just basically, I clear my head. That last fight I had with Hill, I’ve never been so clearheaded. Everything was in slow motion. Everything worked out exactly the way I wanted it to because I visualized it over and over. It’s been great and I’m really glad I’ve decided to do this."
UFC 239 emanates from T-Mobile Arena on July 6 in Las Vegas. Light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones will defend his title against Thiago Santos in the main event. Watch the full interview with Markos below and subscribe to theScoreMMA Youtube channel here.