Lion Fight 31 Headliner Jorina Baars: ‘I’m the Girl to Beat’

By Mike Sloan Sep 1, 2016
She’s one of the best women in muay Thai across the entire globe. She’s the defending Lion Fight women’s welterweight champion. She’s won ISKA, Dutch and K-1 world titles as well. Oh, and she also toppled the virtually invincible Cristiane Justino.

It’s too bad that almost nobody in America knows the name Jorina Baars.

Baars, who has yet to lose in muay Thai in the pro ranks, is set to headline Lion Fight 31 on Friday at Foxwoods Resort Casino when she defends her crown for the third time. Standing in her way will be Angela Whitley and while hardcore fans of the sport know who she is, the vast majority of fights fans don’t. Even after all she’s achieved in her illustrious career, even she can’t understand why there isn’t more of a demand to see her fight, at least stateside.

“I love the attention [from the fans] so if people are afraid of me because I beat ‘Cyborg’ please don't do that,” Baars joked in a recent interview with Sherdog.com. “But I really don't know how come. I wish I get more attention from U.S. fans. But I’m already happy with the fans who support me for my last fights. And I will say all the respect for ‘Cyborg’ because she stepped in the ring with just three muay Thai fights against me with 38 fights at that time.

“I'm the girl to beat,” she continued. “And for a fighter [like] Angela Whitely, she can only win even if she loses. But I love to fight with a lot of pressure on me. The Cyborg fight was one of the best fights and there was a lot of media attention and pressure on that fight.”

The Dutch phenom won a unanimous decision over “Cyborg” when they fought for the inaugural Lion Fight women’s welterweight crown two years ago and it was a fight that should have catapulted her into stardom. Still, she kept her head down and continued to win and she recently changed up her private life to better prepare herself for her fights. The changes have allowed her to focus solely on muay Thai and with what she’s already done in the sport, it’s scary to think what the future holds for her opponents.

“A real new Jorina is what you can expect,” she stated. “I trained so hard for this fight. I have time to train twice a day and rest and eat everything; it is perfect at this moment. I quit working [full-time] in August so my focus is now totally on this fight. And my last three fights I had a lot of things to do next to training, so this fight will be amazing.”

If that means a better Baars on Friday, it could be disastrous for Whitley when the bell sounds to start their duel. But, Baars (40-0-3) admitted that she never knew who Whitley was before the fight, though the Dutch warrior said that won’t be an issue because she focuses on what she needs to before each fight.

“I didn't hear [about] her before Lion Fight was making this match,” she revealed. “But I think she is a very good upcoming fighter with a real fighter’s heart. I saw one video on YouTube but I don't focus myself on her. I always fight my own style and I can change the style during the fight. It's my game, it's my fight. I always fight my own style and do my things. And it works.”

Lion Fight 31 will be televised live on AXS TV starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

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