ANDREA “Renegade” HOWLAND: An up and coming WMMA amateur athlete

By: Thomas Vickers (MMA – Journalist)


ANDREA “Renegade” HOWLAND: An up and coming WMMA amateur

My children and the opportunity to give them a better life.  I believe they deserve an extraordinary sense of security and freedom.  I am not going to stop until I give it to them.” – ANDREA “Renegade” HOWLAND

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Andrea “Renegade” Howland – One tough mother (Photo Credit – Jennings Photography)

Andrea “Renegade” Howland is off to an impressive start in the cage with an undefeated amateur record of (2 – 0).  The “Renegade” is developing and evolving nicely.  Andrea understands the hard work, dedication, and grit needed to prosper in the competitive world of mixed martial arts.  She is a mother of two young children who is not afraid of a big challenge.  Andrea is aware of what it takes to make it in the Women’s Mixed Martial Arts fight game and seems quite ready and prepared to give it her all.   The twenty-nine year old Howland made her amateur debut against Ashley Dominic under the promotion of Big John’s MMA in April of 2018.  Howland dominated the matchup with her reach advantage.  She executed good power in her punching and delivered numerous hard striking leg kicks.  In the first round Andrea used her strength to toss Dominic around with relative ease.  Despite having Dominic in trouble early, the bout ended with a one-sided unanimous decision.  The natural nerves of a debut did seem to show but there is little doubt that Howland will continue to evolve in a positive direction.  In August of 2018 the “Renegade” captured her second victory, a hard fought split decision over a formidable and undefeated amateur in Atty Belanger at WXC 73.  Queen MMA Media caught up with WMMA amateur bantamweight Andrea “Renegade” Howland for some Q & A.

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Photo Credit – Jennings Photography

Tommy V. – How would you describe yourself as a fighter?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “I believe I am more calculating then most developing fighters.  I try to utilize my mental strength before my physical.  Sometimes I think that helps me and sometimes I wish I was more impulsive and aggressive.  I think I identify with striking as it seems to come more naturally.”

Tommy V. – What motivates you?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “My children and the opportunity to give them a better life.  I believe they deserve an extraordinary sense of security and freedom.  I am not going to stop until I give it to them.”

Tommy V. – What or who do you look towards for inspiration?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “I think the idea of not reaching my goals is threatening in itself to inspire me to keep me going.  However, I do draw inspiration from my teammates who all have different circumstances and struggles.  It’s nice to identify with their journey and look at how we all have to overcome hardships to get where we want to be.”

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The “Renegade” lands a stinging left jab against Ashley Dominic

Tommy V. – You are one of many quality WMMA fighters out of Michigan.  Would you agree there is a sizable cluster of female fighters coming out of the Michigan area – such names as Calie Cutler and Cora Thomason to name a few?  And why?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “It’s an honor to be considered amongst a group with those names.  I’ve been watching girls like Calie and Cora since before I started training knowing that I wanted to follow in their footsteps.  So to have the opportunity to train alongside them now is a blessing.  I think the talent has always been here in Michigan but we craved a platform to be seen and recognized.  I think this is the turning of the tide and we are going to make sure that people recognize what we offer to the sport not only in Michigan but also on a national scale.”

Tommy V. – Your October 13, 2018 fight for Lights Out Promotions was cancelled, can you enlighten my readers as to why?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “The promotion was told by my opponent, Melissa Acosta, that she had “Preexisting injuries” that would not allow her to gain medical clearance on her physical.  To be honest, I was disappointed in her actions because this news came only a week out from the fight.  It would have been appreciated to know sooner in attempt to salvage the opportunity and find another girl.  Whether she truly was injured or not, I feel her communication was lacking and it was disrespectful to myself as well as Lights Out Championship.  I, in no way, have interest in working with her in the future.”

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Howland battles it out with Atty Belanger at WXC 73

Tommy V. – Being a mom of two children do you see this as a plus or negative as a fighter?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “I absolutely see it as a plus. Overall, it adds more challenges when it comes to training, but it produces a sense of urgency and a fire inside of me that I doubt I would have without my children in my life. I know that I must make it work because I am dedicating so much time to the sport and taking that time away from children. That fact alone gives me a drive to make sure I make the most of my investments. I feel that pressure is a good thing for me specifically even if it’s not for others.”

Tommy V. – It is my understanding you are developing nicely – however you have been trying to focus on improving the ability to relax in the cage. Working on trying not to be tense. How is this coming along for you?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “Actually, I feel I am becoming more relaxed which is great, but I feel I need to turn up the aggression. I am finding it is a balance to have a sense of calm but at the same time harness explosiveness. In my next matchup I hope to showcase this phase of my development.” 

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Sacrifice is what it will take and sacrifice she is ready to make (Photo Credit – Jennings Photography)

Tommy V. – What made you decide to step into the cage?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “I am a competitor at heart. I always have been. Mixed Martial Arts to me was the ultimate challenge based off of what I have seen in athletics previously. I honestly could not resist. I look for new things to try because I have the confidence that I am good at most of what I put my mind to. I just now face the question of what I am meant to be great at. I believe MMA has brought that desire out of me and I want to pursue this career until it no longer makes sense and I accomplish everything I set out to do.”

Tommy V. – At 2-0 as an amateur with wins over Atty Belanger and Ashley Dominic who or what’s next for you?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “That’s a hard question to answer. In Michigan or in the Midwest there seems to be a new wave of competitors in my division. I am still becoming familiar with all the promotions in my regional area and the new faces of competition. I think the next steps for me are to develop as an athlete and keep my eyes open for the next big opportunity. I said when I started in MMA I wanted to fight frequently. I have been in a fight camp this entire year until now. I plan to take time to get my family safely through the winter months and then look for my next matchup at the beginning of 2019. At that point I do not plan on letting off the gas until around this time next year. So I am excited to see what the future holds.” 

Tommy V. – Who or what fighter(s) do you admire in the cage if any and why?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “My heart and respect will always be with any parents that compete or train. I just identify with that lifestyle. However, if I had to be specific I don’t think there are fighters I necessarily look up to but I have respect for their skillsets and efforts. I will say, the fighters that go out of their way to promote themselves and take advantage of the business side of the sport I try to watch closely and follow their lead. I think many MMA fighters misunderstand that they are in an entertainment business and if you want to make this thing work you must play that part.” 

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Photo Credit – Jennings Photography

Tommy V. – What advice would you share if any with a new amateur looking to enter the cage?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “You have to train for a significant amount of time and test yourself on the mats over and over again before you make the conscious decision to take a fight. Get punched in the face, take body kicks, make a teammate literally overwhelm you in sparring, grapple until you’re exhausted, etc. I think mentally challenging yourself is so much more important than having the skillsets. You can always develop new striking or learn jiu-jitsu but if you’re not mentally prepared you can have a bad experience prematurely and it can delay your competition life. I had to prove some of those things to myself before I even starting looking for a matchup.”

Tommy V. – Where do you want your WMMA career to be this time next year?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “I want to look at back at 2019 and see at least 3 to 4 successful fight camps. To be more specific I want 3 to 4 solid finishes this next year. If I get more than that I’ll be ecstatic. I also want to see my teammates fighting frequently and finding success as well. I want to move forward as a unit.” 

Tommy V. – Is turning pro a future goal for you?

ANDREA HOWLAND – “Absolutely. It has been the goal from the beginning. 5 to 7 finishes is my goal before I even look at the pro ranks. I don’t know how many fights that will take but it is important to me to know I can end fights and I can do it in numerous circumstances. That is my focus and goal for 2019. No decisions.” 

Tommy V. – Feel free to add any shout-outs to sponsorship, coaches, and so forth.

ANDREA HOWLAND – “Thank you to my teams: Michigan Top Team and Bushido Mixed Martial Arts Ypsilanti. I would like to thank my sponsors: Never Tap Canada, Dank Inovations, Shakers Bar & Grill, Bad Chicks MMA, MMA Roadhog, JustBU360, IronJaw Custom Mouthguards, & Fighter Alias. Your support means a great deal to me. I have no idea where I would be without you.”

Cover Photo – Jennings Photography


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