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Our Fenomenal Women series continues with Erica Plummer from Santa Ana, California. Erica is a nursing student who works two jobs, volunteers, trains, and competes. She has won every major West coast tournament as a white belt, and is on a mission to do the same as a blue belt. We are pleased to have her as one of our sponsored athletes. Everyone meet Erica!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a 1 stripe blue belt under Professor Giva Santana from Lotus Club Jiu Jitsu, a part of Team Oyama MMA, in Irvine, CA. My other coaches that I often train under are Professor Laercio Fernandes and Professor Fabio Nascimento. We have two more black belts that sometimes teach us; Evan Cathey and Mo Khayat. I first joined the gym just for cardio kickboxing. Giva Santana used to invite me to try out BJJ all of the time, but I wanted NO part of rolling around with sweaty dudes! After awhile a small group of us cardio kickboxing ladies decided to give it a try as a group and after a few years, I’m the only one who stuck with it.

What do you do besides training?

Besides training, I am in a full-time Nursing program and work full-time graveyard shifts as a Nursing Assistant at a local hospital. Needless to say, free time and sleep are lacking haha! I also love my little dog, she’s a PomChi named Suki.

Does anyone else in your family train and what do they think about BJJ?

No one in my family is an athlete so they haven’t really ever understood my lifestyle, but have always been very supportive. Growing up I was a competitive gymnast, did track & field, cross country running, dance, and competition cheerleading, so at first BJJ was hard for my family to get used to. They were really worried about me getting hurt, but they are getting more used to it now.

You have a long competition history. What accomplishment are you most proud of so far?

Last year at the Worlds, I won my white belt division and was promoted to blue belt on the podium. That was such an amazing day that I will never forget! I have to say my proudest moment was at the Nationals this past September though. I only had my blue belt for 3 months when I won lightweight blue belt division and the open division. I felt so thankful that my hard work paid off.

What are you plans for the rest of 2012 in terms of major competitions?

Well, I just came off a bronze at Pan Ams, with a loss to Monique Elias from Alliance, an awesome competitor (and an even nicer person), so I have been back in the gym focusing on my mistakes for the Worlds at the end of May. After the Worlds I will compete locally over the summer, Vegas Open, and the Nationals again this fall. I’m not much of a no-gi lover, but I kind of want to give no-gi Worlds a try this fall too.

What is your favorite submission?

I don’t have a favorite submission, however armbars seem to come easily to me. Almost every submission win has come via armbar. My Professor’s MMA nickname is “The Arm Collector” so I guess it fits :).

Who is your favorite BJJ athlete?

I’m really inspired by the passing style of Fernando “Tererê” Augusto, and my 3 professors Giva Santana, Laercio Fernandes, and Fabio Nascimento always have me in awe!

Do you have a lot of female training partners at your school? Do you go to any women’s open mats and seminars?

We do have pro MMA fighter (and crazy good wrestler) Carla Esparza, and brown belt Tatiana Nascimento, who I train with often which is really good. There are also a couple of white belt girls that are consistent. We have an all girls BJJ class at our gym, but I’ve never been to one of those open mats or seminars, mostly because lack of time. I am a true believer that my strength both mentally and physically has significantly increased from rolling with the guys and not only women though.

Is there anything else interesting you want our readers to know about you?

After high-school I randomly decided to move to London, that lasted two weeks until I run out of money. I made it back to New York, and lived there for three months. I love cooking, and can make anything super healthy, and still taste good!  My friend and I used to run every day and made it up to 12 miles at our peak. Maybe some day I’ll do a marathon?!