The sport of MMA is crazy. One minute, you are close with people in the sport—casual acquaintances or even the best of friends. The next minute, there's a falling-out, and things get chippy.
There are many great examples of this. The most famous could be the Jon Jones-Rashad Evans feud that graced the UFC not long ago, which culminated in a successful title defense for the young champion, Jones.
On the regional level, a grudge match has been in the making for some time. It involves two Colorado fighters who were formerly training partners but are now rivals.
Those two women are Shannon Sinn and Maureen Riordon.
Riordon and Sinn's falling-out has now led to a matchup at Invicta 12 on Friday. It's a bout that might settle some differences, but one thing is for sure: Expect some aggression.
"This is my first grudge match, I guess you would say," Riordon told Bleacher Report in an interview. "For the first couple years of our careers, we trained together and were sparring partners. We then had a falling-out, she had some personal issues that I didn't know about, and she left the gym."
For Riordon, a spot on the Invicta roster is huge. It means a platform to get her name out there and potentially the ability to increase the activity of her schedule.
Like most women's MMA fighters, Riordon has struggled to secure fights on the regional scene. This is especially true as an amateur, where she had five of her career fights.
In addition to that, she had to move outside the realm of MMA for fights. She was even offered a spot on a Glory kickboxing card, something she took and was successful in.
"As an amateur, it's so difficult to get fights," Riordon explained. "I wanted to just do MMA, but as I kept getting fights turned down, I got an offer to do a kickboxing match. I didn't really want to do it, but if I didn't take it, I wouldn't fight at all. Also, people told me I couldn't be successful not focusing on one combat sport, so I wanted to prove them wrong. When that opportunity knocks on your door, you jump at it."
When she eventually decided to turn pro, she was given a big opportunity in the form of a fight with Resurrection Fighting Alliance, an organization known for sending fighters to the UFC. It was her pro debut, but it was an opportunity she could not turn down.
In her way was a then-unknown MMA fighter by the name of Marion Reneau. In a fun fight, Reneau was able to secure an armbar victory over Riordon—though Riordon showed good heart and potential.
"Fighting for RFA was a huge opportunity for me and something I am extremely grateful for," Riordon stated. "I would love to rematch Marion Reneau in the future because I learned a lot from that fight process. Not to take anything away from Marion, but I had basically one training partner who I had to show how to do an armbar on the first day of fight camp. And I was not allowed to cross-train for that fight camp because my coach didn't want me to, so I realized to meet my needs first when in a fight camp.
"The fight with Marion might have been different, and it might not have been different, but I would like to try that fight again in the future where I am able to work with more training partners and prep better."
However, that is all in the past, and Riordon is looking toward the future. She has an important fight with Sinn that could jump-start her career quickly.
It's a matchup that she's excited for and knows will be good.
"This will be a good, interesting fight," Riordon predicted. "This is business, and she's just another opponent. I'll punch her in the face, and she'll punch me in the face. There will definitely be more satisfaction in punching each other in the face than normally. I want to win every fight, obviously, but this is one that I really want to win, and I know she feels the same way. We're different fighters than we were when we trained together."
That's the kind of attitude that will put Riordon over in this fight. She knows nothing will be easy, yet she looks forward to the challenge.
A win here would definitely solidify her on the Invicta roster, whether it's at 135 or 125 pounds. She's excited to be on this roster because it means a chance to gain recognition and fans.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Riordon asserted. "I just hope the fans like what I show them because I will give it my all out there."