Dakota Ditcheva was not at all shocked she earned her first submission win this past weekend at PFL Europe 1.
The 24-year-old improved to 8-0 as a pro MMA fighter when she tapped Malin Hermansson in the first round in Newcastle, England. Having come from a Muai Thai background, a lot of MMA fans were surprised by that side of her game.
“I’m not,” Ditcheva said on The MMA Hour. “I work hard on my ground game. I love it. I just haven’t needed to show it yet, and I’ve obviously had a lot of stand-up and I love to strike, so I kind of always relied on that. But I have got a ground game and a wrestling game — I just don’t use it that often, and I think that’s why people are quite shocked at the moment.
“All I see everywhere is she won by sub, by sub. Like everyone’s so shocked. But me and my team are just really happy that I got to show a little bit of it, but we’re not shocked at all because I am quite good on the ground.”
Ditcheva made her pro MMA debut in April 2021, and signed with the PFL a year later. She’s now 3-0 in the promotion and seems to have found a home in mixed martial arts.
With the European boxing scene getting a big push, she could likely make a seamless transition to the squared circle — although, not being able to utilize all of her striking tools isn’t something that excites her.
“I’ve come from Thai boxing,” Ditcheva said. “So, like kicking and elbows is something that’s so natural to me. If you take that away from me, I’m not really, you know — I like to elbow and I like to kick, striking is my main thing.
“So I don’t feel like I would get the same buzz out of fighting boxing as I would MMA, I’d probably go back to Thai boxing over going to boxing, I think.”