NFL Cheerleader Becomes MMA Fighter: 'I Chose Fighting,' Says Rachel Wray

A former National Football League cheerleader is turning heads in the octagonal ring after intensive training has led her to become a professional mixed martial arts fighter, known to passionate fans as MMA.

Former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Rachel Wray was a on the sidelines last year, but decided that she would be better off fighting opponents in the ring.

"Last year, I was a Chiefs cheerleader … I have been a cheerleader or dancer my whole life and I moved here from Arkansas to cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs," according to

She added that after working out at a boxing club several times she enjoyed sparring and wanted to know how to take this new passion further.

"I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the girls for an alternative workout. I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day, I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it," she added.

Wray explains that things did not start as well as she had hoped, but continued training to the point where she decided to finally make the switch from cheerleading to professional fighting.

"I was absolutely horrible … this drove me to want it even more. I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting," Wray said.

Her training regimen is not for the faint of heart, as she works to keep herself in the best possible physical condition.

"I practice 5 times a week, 2 hours a night. Running and sprinting. A few private lessons. Drinking 2 gallons of water per day. This has to be your top priority over everything else, sometimes including your job," she told