Exclusive Interview with Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet
It all started at the age of 14 after watching Sugar Ray Leonard videos. 10 years later, the journey began. Since then, Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet has become one of the best featherweights in the world.
For a long time, fighting was just something that Charmaine did. During her high school years, she didn’t fit in with any of the sports teams she played for. So immediately, fighting became an outlet. Tweet always had a competitive side, so with MMA, she fell in love with the fact that she only had to worry about herself in a fight. “The only one who can screw up in the cage is me,” said Tweet. “I liked that I’m in control of the outcome.”
Fighting used to be an escape to get away from what life was. Now, Tweet fights because she loves it.
“I would go back in a heartbeat. I’d fight any fight given to me.”
From fighting Ronda Rousey early on in her career, to Cris Cyborg at Invicta FC, Tweet can say that she has fought the best women in the game, before people even knew they were the best.
I think you’re one of the few who can really speak on the evolution of the women’s MMA and mixed martial arts in general. What are your thoughts on that?
“It’s come a long way since when I started. Women weren’t fighting in the UFC and there wasn’t an all-women’s promotion. Platforms have skyrocketed. Women now are training specifically for MMA, before they only had one discipline. I was a Thai Boxer. Cris Cyborg was just Jui-Jitsu at one point. Everything that’s happening with the UFC and Invicta FC is allowing women to getting more exposure and becoming better fighters.”
A typical day in the life of Charmaine Tweet
“Now it’s easy,” said Tweet. “I get up whenever I want, which is good. I normally train late at night to sleep in more. I go into the office around 11:00am/12:00pm until about 3:00pm/4:00pm. Sometimes I go to meetings off-site and sometimes have them in the office.”
After work, it’s supper and then it’s time to train. She also meets with her coaches to discuss short and long term goals, every now and then. “The goal has always been to one day fight in the UFC, even before women were even fighting for the promotion,” said Tweet.
When she’s not in fight camp, she’s able to make room for hobbies. This is something that’s new to Charmaine, as she’s never had any hobbies before. “I train and work and have kids,” said Tweet. “Now that I don’t work full-time, I am discovering more talents like crocheting and drawing.”
She’s also a ghost buster in training.
The Cris Cyborg fight and why it was important to Invicta FC
We all know Cris Cyborg is the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world. She has been undefeated in the last ten years and has fought women in the UFC, while also defending her belt in Invicta FC. When Tweet got her chance to fight the best female fighter on the planet, she gladly accepted.
“As silly as this may sound,” said Tweet, “when Cyborg tried to intimidate me at the weigh-ins, I thought it was funny.” Tweet did not fear fighting Cyborg, unlike most women in the UFC.
With fighting the best female fighter on the planet, came the cameras and attention. Charmaine was able to experience the heavy media schedule that came with fighting Cris.
“When I fought Cyborg, I only fought for Invicta two times before that,” said Tweet. “I don’t notice the cameras when I’m fighting or when I’m walking out. They fade into the background. What was different with the Cyborg fight was the open workouts and press conference.” The night Tweet fought Cyborg, the UFC also had women fighting in both the main and co-main events.
“I wasn’t used to having more things going on during fight week. I’m used to getting there and settling into a hotel,” said Tweet. “We typically do Invicta media, which is a quick interview when you walk out and then you do a photoshoot.” All of this came, only because she was fighting Cris Cyborg.
Although the fight ended in 46 seconds, Tweet wouldn’t change a thing. Other than going back to train a few things differently, of course. She was offered the fight, and she took it.
Megan Anderson and the ducking game
Tweet was given her second shot at gold, when Invicta announced that they would have an interim title fight due to Cyborg’s USADA suspension. At Invicta FC 21, Tweet fought Megan Anderson in the main event, falling to the up-and-coming featherweight in the second round.
After the fight, Anderson cut arguably, one of the best post-fight promo’s. She called out Dana White, Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie. The funny thing is, once Cyborg’s suspension was overturned, Anderson started to duck the rightful owner to her Invicta FC championship belt.
“Megan hits hard and she cut me open. But I would rather get hit by Megan Anderson over Cris Cyborg any day.”
Tweet shared some strong feelings about the ducking that was happening.
“After you win an interim belt, if the champ comes back, that’s who you fight. You know that’s what’s coming. To automatically call out Dana and UFC, calling out for the belt, it was disrespectful to Invicta. I kind of thought it was a duck with Cris there. I don’t duck anybody. When the fight is offered, that’s where I go.”
What’s even crazier is that after all this, Anderson is officially the featherweight champion for Invicta FC and is still calling for a fight with Holly Holm. Cris Cyborg is unable to find an opponent and the UFC featherweight division is still nonexistent.
“The UFC needs to get their shit together”
After the championship fight between Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm, the hype behind the featherweight division has died. The world was excited to see if the UFC could build its third division for female mixed martial artists.
We continue to hear that this division is too green and there aren’t enough women to create the division. When we spoke with Tweet about Dana’s comments, she shared some valuable insight.
“I wouldn’t say it’s green,” said Tweet. “Here’s my thing, they brought two bantamweights in to fight for the belt. There are many bantamweights that should be fighting at featherweight, instead have to deal with the weight cut.”
Charmaine hopes that one day, fighters will be able to scrap at their own weight. That would mean however, that Tweet would need a 155-pound division. “I wonder if the reason women don’t come into the fight game is because of the weight cutting and not having their own weightclass,” said Tweet.
“If you build the division, they will come. Maybe you won’t have as many fights per year as the bantamweights do, but they [bantamweights] didn’t either, back in the days.”
Tweet saw a list of 40 featherweight fighters. Some are greener, but she believes that’s okay. “We will work with you in building, if you work with us,” said Tweet. Maybe there’s not as much depth as Dana White would like, but it’s true, you have to build it.
Can you think of a few featherweight fighters that you think are worthy of fighting under the UFC, right now?
“There’s lots. Marloes Coenen retired. Julia won’t leave Bellator. They [Bellator] are going to be working on getting featherweights. The UFC should get their shit together.
As much as I hate to admit it, Megan Anderson should fight under the UFC. Me and Amanda Bell as well. I would love to see Cindy Dandois back in featherweight. She’s been fighting at bantamweight for a while. She’s stronger at featherweight, although she’s been taking on bantamweight fighters and doing well against them.”
The opportunities will only continue to grow, even if the UFC doesn’t sign 145-pound fighters anytime soon. Fighting for Bellator MMA could be a very big possibility for Charmaine Tweet, as they just crowned their first featherweight champion, Julia Budd.
What’s next for Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet?
She has yet to be contacted by the UFC and she has yet to book her next fight for Invicta FC. If the UFC were to contact her today, she would be willing to fight anyone. “Amanda Bell has wanted a rematch for a long time, that could be a possibility” said Tweet. “Also, the fight that never happened, Faith Van Duin. I would like to settle that and put that to bed.”
“Dana, let’s get Holly in there again. Sign Me To 145 too.”
As for a potential fight with Holly Holm, Tweet never considered it until now. She called out the Bloody Elbow for reporting Holly should fight an Invicta fighter that has had a “rough career” lately. “I didn’t understand because I only lost my last fight. I was like, okay? Let’s do it,” said Tweet.
If the fight were booked, it would be amazing for the UFC’s featherweight division and it’s growth.
“Work, work, work, work”
Although thoughts of retirement are far from Tweet’s mind, you gotta sit to think that it may be closer than we think. She’s already fought against the best in the game, so I doubt she would do anything differently, other than training. “I believe everything happens like it’s supposed to happen. Everyone plays a role in how everything is supposed to play out,” said Tweet.
Looking back, of course the losses will be disappointing; however, you learn more when you lose than when you win. “It points out your weakness,” said Tweet. “I found those weaknesses and addressed them, and trained to get rid of them.”
The journey continues to evolve. The hunger seems to continue to grow. The UFC is the final destination. But as the jouney evolves, so do the fighters. Tweet, tries to keep up with evolution and growth of the game.
“My fight style is me. Duke molded my fight style,” said Tweet. As she continues to train, she tries to emulate the movement of bantamweights like TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. “It’s difficult for the bigger girls to move like that, but those guys are changing the game,” said Tweet.
Always one step ahead
Back in August, Charmaine became a financial consultant for a company called Freedom 55. She gets to work for herself, so she’s her own boss. Not many fighters get this luxury, typically you see fighters working at gyms, while others aren’t able to work nine to five because their training interferes. Tweet was let go of a previous position because she wasn’t able to do the typical nine to five. “I had the opportunity to fight Cris Cyborg and my employer and I had a disagreement,” said Tweet.
She said, “screw it,” and took the time to train for the biggest fight of her career.
“It’s tough to get the training in that you need and work your job and get the proper amount of recovery time.”
This is why she chose to be a financial consultant. A job she would recommend to any fighter. Currently, she’s enjoying the job. It’s a new passion in which Charmaine hopes to get insurance for fighters like herself. She’s still building her client base, but when it continues to grow, that’s when she’ll most likeley be getting to the point of retirement.
Getting the word out there to those that want to fight: “I didn’t think about this, before fighting, get your life and disability insurance. Once you start, it’s impossible to get or too expensive to get. Cause what happens if you get into a car accident and hit a moose like I did, and can’t fight? How do you make your money?”
“I don’t want to retire until I fight in the UFC.”
Although it may seem like one foot has already stepped out the door, I would disagree. She’s working to support her bills when she’s not fighting and it seems as if Tweet, is as motivated as ever. The featherweights have more of a platform to showcase their abilities than ever before and I hope that we get to see the “Not So Sweet” one on the biggest stage of them all.
Always one step ahead of the game, Charmaine Tweet will forever go down in the history books of women’s mixed martial arts, as one of the best to ever do it.
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