An Interview with Jinh Yu Frey, Atomweight Title Challenger

2017-12-20 18:00




Jinh Yu Frey (6-2, Genesis Jiu Jitsu) is the number one female atomweight in the western world, as she sits on top of the rankings with Invicta FC. She will be challenging ROAD FC Atomweight Champion Ham Seo-Hee at Xiaomi ROAD FC 045 XX this coming Saturday, December 23. It is the most important female atomweight match in the world right now, as both women are number 1 and 2 on every respected ranking.

The multifaceted and multitalented Frey has earned three summa cum laude degrees: Associates in Nuclear Medicine, Bachelors in Radiologic Sciences, and an MBA. She now works as a highly specialized Nuclear Medicine Technician while pursuing her career in MMA. However, her success in MMA has won over her focus.

“I got my MBA exactly two years ago, and here I am now, an MMA fighter! I was working in patient care which is a very stressful job, so I went to graduate school to gain more options. I was fighting at the time, but I wasn't serious about it, and then I got the KO that went viral. Suddenly I got the chance with Invicta, so I decided that I would fight for a little while more. Then I beat Herica Tiburcio, and got the title shot. I had worked hard to get to this point, and I didn't want to quit when I was this close to the top. Douglas and I talked, and we decided to go for it. I went part-time with my job and started focusing on MMA.”



Frey's working situation provides her with a huge assist. Her employer, Medical City Arlington, has given Frey flexible working hours, and allows her the time off necessary to travel away from home and compete. She's heralded by Texas as a world-level athlete, the best in her division in the USA, so they are proud to support her. In fact, Frey was written up on the Arlington, Texas official government website in recognition of her ROAD FC Championship match.

“I didn't even know that the city was going to write that! I think my company had a lot to do with sharing it. They support me. Of course I need a paycheck coming in, and they are very flexible. I have the option of a promotion in the future, but I'm not sure if I ever want to go back to a 9 to 5 job. I've been spoiled with my freedom! But it's nice to have the option. I am aware that I need to consider my future after MMA, because I want to retire from this sport while still healthy and without injuries.”

Her husband, Douglas Frey, is also a major asset in her corner. He was an MMA fighter with over 20 bouts, and is now a noted coach with his own gym, Genesis Jiu Jitsu. Frey is not only his wife's coach, but her nutritionist, chef, weight cut guide, and of course her moral support.

“It's pretty nice! Once I did a training camp in Iceland, and he wasn't with me, so I lost weight and strength so quickly because I had to cook for myself. I would get so tired and just open a can of tuna. Also, I'm kind of a private person, so Douglas actually posts much more for my social media than I do. However, sometimes it's hard to differentiate my husband from my coach. When I'm edgy, I take things too personally. But he knows to stop when I get the look in my eye, 'Stop pushing, or you'll be sleeping on the couch.' Haha! ”



While being fortunate to have such strong support, Frey has achieved her success by putting in hard work and hours in the gym. Her teammates are stellar, and it just so happened that she was part of a group of female fighters all training for upcoming bouts.

“It has been a great camp for me. Many of my training partners had fights to prepare for as well, so there was a great energy in the gym with everyone working so hard. I'm lucky to have a handful of really good female training partners. Montana De La Rosa, Shana Dobson, Emily Ducote, and Jodie Esquibel were all a part of my training camp. Three of them are in the UFC and one is in Bellator.”

It was perfect timing, because Frey's next match will be with a legend of the sport, Ham Seo-Hee.

“I remember watching her fight when I was an amateur, but I wasn't keeping up with her because she was in Asia. I knew that people were saying Michelle Waterson should fight her. Then in UFC she was in a different weight class. She had good performances so I was really surprised she got cut. And that's when I started thinking she might be a possibility for me. I like Ham and I think she has a very exciting style to watch. She displays a lot of heart.”

Frey is in no way intimidated by her opponent. She is in her position because she earned it, and she feels she has the tools to keep her there.

“I think I am a well-rounded fighter. I have knockouts, submissions, and I have been the distance. I’m also a good wrestler, so I feel that I’m comfortable wherever the fight takes place. Seo-Hee is a heavy pressure fighter, so I have to be ready to deal with that and stay composed. But I feel like I have more options.”



Does Frey think about what's next? Past the ROAD FC Championship, onto an Invicta title match? Or further?

“I see every match with the same gravity. They are all important and I never try to overlook anyone. I’m not sure about my future goals in MMA yet. I think I will cross that bridge when I get there, but right now I only care about this fight and Seo-Hee.”

There is something else that makes this ROAD FC title fight even more meaningful to Frey. She is half Korean, but her parents got divorced when she was young, so she wasn't exposed to her father's Korean culture. She knew he was a Korean martial arts master and had his own school. Then, much later when she achieved her own international acclaim as the Invicta FC Atomweight title challenger, Frey discovered that her father remarried and she had half brothers. It began a whole new chapter in her life.

Frey met with them, and learned more about herself and the Korean half of her birthright that she never really knew. Now the story has come full-circle: from a reporter's delve into her unknown Korean side, to her ROAD FC Atomweight Championship bout in Korea.

“I fell short against Ayaka Hamasaki in our Invicta title match, then I was never given the rematch I was promised. Maybe it is destiny that I lost that fight so that I could have the opportunity to fight in my father’s homeland and bring home a title. Being half Korean myself, a win here would be much more dear to my heart.

“I didn’t have a lot of exposure to Korean culture, so that is part of the reason I am so excited for this opportunity. First and foremost of course, I am there to fight the best in the world. But I am also excited to experience the Korean culture and learn about that part of myself.”



Sadly, Frey's father has passed on, so there can't be a reunion between a martial arts father and the daughter who successfully followed in his footsteps. But she will be thinking about him when she finally steps in the ROAD FC cage on his home soil of Korea.

“I would hope that he is proud, having been a martial artist himself. I think he would appreciate all the hard work and discipline it takes to be where I am.”

Jinh Yu Frey will challenge ROAD FC Atomweight Champion Ham Seo-Hee at Xiaomi ROAD FC 045 XX this coming Saturday, December 23rd. Please check here for the international broadcast schedule.




ROAD FC announces global expansion into CHINA with 360GAME ROAD FC 027 on 26December
  ROAD FC global expansion into China with 360GAME ROAD FC 027 in Shanghai on 26 December, 2015  9 October, 2015 - ROAD FC announces global expansion into China with 360GAME presents ROAD FC 027 in Shanghai on 26 December, 2015.   During the official weigh in event on 8 October for 360GAME ROAD FC 026, ROAD FC CEO Jung Moon-Hong made the announcement that ROAD FC will be expanding operations into China.  ROAD Fighting Championship is South Korea's premier MMA organization which has held twenty-eight events since it was founded in 2011. After setting a bench mark of one event almost every month in 2014, ROAD FC embarked on a global expansion plan and held its first ever international event in Tokyo, Japan in 2015. This year will also witness more dramatic growth as ROAD FC will host its first show in China, in the metropolis of Shanghai, on 26 December. ROAD FC is currently negotiating a venue with a capacity of 18,000. 360GAME ROAD FC 027 will be broadcast live in China and internationally across multiple platforms, which ROAD FC CEO Jung revealed included: “China's State-owned broadcaster CCTV, local terrestrial broadcasters, and the internet portal of Tencent, we are scheduled to broadcast.”  Tencent is Asia's largest internet company and competes with the largest internet companies in the world.  Tencent's internet portal is one of the largest in China. ROAD FC's live broadcast in China on QQ will begin immediately with 360GAME ROAD FC 026 on 9 October. Event: "360GAME" presents ROAD Fighting Championship 026 Date: Friday, 9 October, 2015Place: Jangchung Gymnasium, Seoul, South KoreaMain event live at 20:00KSTLive PPV stream on at stream on Tencent at  Global expansion next event: Event: "360GAME" presents ROAD Fighting Championship 027 Date: Saturday, 26 December, 2015Place: Shanghai, China