Nursing by Day, MMA Warrior by Night: Melissa Amaya’s Inspiring Story in MMA

Melissa Amaya - Photo by Scott Hirano -

Step into the resilient world of Melissa Amaya, where the compassionate touch of a nurse transforms into the fierce determination of an undefeated MMA warrior. By day, she heals; by night, she conquers. Pump It Up Magazine, in its empowering Women’s March edition, brings you an exclusive conversation with Melissa Amaya. From grappling against opponents twice her size to soaring on the music notes, Melissa exemplifies strength in every facet of her life. Join us as we unravel the story of this remarkable woman who dominates both the MMA cage and the music stage.


Melissa Amaya

Q1: Nursing by Day, MMA Warrior by Night

Pump It Up Magazine: Melissa, your days are filled with healing as a nurse, and nights are dedicated to conquering the MMA arena. How do these dual roles shape your identity, and what fuels your passion for both professions?

Melissa Amaya:

From a young age I’ve always been a very competitive person, participating in basketball, volleyball, s

ccer, and track and field. I need exercise like I need oxygen. I crave pushing myself to exhaustion and constantly challenging myself. Staying still is not my strong suit. I was also very intuitive and empathetic so I naturally knew how to cater to other people’s needs. Becoming a nurse was an easy transition because my love for medicine met my love for taking care of others. MMA was a natural thing for me to pursue as well, I grew up with three brothers and being the only girl, I learned from them.

One important thing I must say is that my identity is not tied to what I do, they are merely the vessel through which I express myself. 

Q2: Defying Size, Defining Strength

Pump It Up Magazine: You’ve grappled against opponents much larger, showcasing incredible strength and tenacity. How do you channel your mindset to overcome physical discrepancies, and what message do you hope to send to aspiring female fighters?

Melissa Amaya:

In order to achieve anything great, you must leave your ego at the door. I’m fortunate that from a young age I learned that hard work doesn’t care about your feelings, if you’re tired, or what your excuses are. You either do your best or you don’t. Therefore, the size of the challenge doesn’t change my approach. I hope that aspiring female fighters are able to take that message to heart. Motivation, feelings, excuses will always be there for you to take the easy way out, like low hanging fruit. That’s what our brains are designed to do, to protect us and find comfort. The key is in never negotiating with yourself and getting the job done at all costs.

Q3: Undefeated and Unstoppable

Pump It Up Magazine: With an undefeated record, you’ve climbed the ranks in the competitive world of MMA. What has been the most challenging moment in your journey so far, and how did you overcome it?

Melissa Amaya:

The most challenging moment so far in my MMA journey has been dealing with imposter syndrome.

I climbed the ranks so quickly that I felt as if I didn’t deserve it. I couldn’t take myself serious; I came into MMA just wanting a challenge, to grow as a person by throwing myself into very uncomfortable situations. Also, I wanted to transform myself into a deadly weapon – what’s more empowering than that?

I was suddenly being called out by other fighters and I felt like I hadn’t accomplished enough to deserve that attention. This is likely due to the fact that I always feel like I need to do more and I can achieve more. I was able to overcome that by talking through my emotions with trusted teammates and my husband. At the end of the day, I put in the work, was closed in a cage with someone who wanted to take my head off, and I prevailed. This is not an outcome that is just handed to you, it is earned, and I finally acknowledged that for myself.

Melissa Amaya – Photo by Scott Hirano –

Q4: Music and Martial Arts

Pump It Up Magazine: Beyond the cage, you’re also known for your musical talents. How does your love for singing complement your life as an MMA warrior, and do you find any parallels between the two?

Melissa Amaya:

I have always felt things very deeply. I tear up and get the chills when I hear music that speaks to me or see beautiful emotional choreography. I feel like I can channel my emotions through singing and dancing, it’s very cathartic and I get into a flow state. It’s a celebration of life and I feel most connected to the world. Similar to MMA, fighting is one of the most intimate dances you can do with another human being. As “structured” as it is, there’s always a risk of death or an injury that may alter your life forever. It is pure survival, there is no hiding, and to me, that is poetry in motion. I feel most alive when I do these things.

Q5: Inspiring Through Adversity

Pump It Up Magazine: Your journey is an inspiration, overcoming challenges and excelling in two distinct fields. How do you wish to inspire other women facing adversity, and what role does mental resilience play in your success?

Melissa Amaya as a Nurse by Day

Melissa Amaya:

I wish to inspire other women facing adversity by serving as an example, as living proof that you don’t need to conform to stereotypes of how you “should” live. We live in fear of taking the wrong path, going against the grain, or doing things others find unconventional. We forget that life is short and nobody makes it out alive. There is no medal for making it to the end without a scratch. We should aim to have as many battle wounds as possible.

I’m proud of my battle scars.

I have many that you can see, and others that you can’t. I battled depression, thinking about death daily for 12 years, I’m only stronger for it, I’ve never seen myself as a victim or felt sorry for myself. I learned to fight for every breath long before I decided to fight in MMA, keeping one foot in front of the other. It is a privilege to feel pain – it means you’re still alive.

So buckle up buttercup, as long as your heart is still beating, there’s work to do.

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