Our “Future Stars” column profile these athletes under 18 who are taking combat sports serious and finding success as they grow. These are the next generation of sports such as MMA, kickboxing, boxing, wrestling and BJJ.
At just 10 years old, Sophie “The Dog” Sharp is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do under Tae Kwon Do United and has national championships in forms, weapons and sparring.
She soon set her sights on Jiu-jitsu, training initially at Pure Wave under Nicholas Salles; than moving to Garden State BJJ under Chris Ulbricht and Dr. Matt Strobel.
Wombat Sports: What got you interested in getting involved in combat sports?
Sophie Sharp: Honestly my older sister Emily started taking TKD and I just followed! Then she wanted to try BJJ so we did that too. After a few weeks she decided it wasn’t for her, but I was in love!! I’ve only been practicing full time for 5 months or so, but I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Wombat: What do you enjoy about it?
Sharp: I like that I’m doing something that isn’t normally “for girls”. And I know how to defend myself in real world situations. Meeting new people, and learning from great teachers is so important. I think the best part is when people look at me, and see a cute little blonde girl, they underestimate me. That’s always funny.
WS: How has your friends and classmates reacted to it?
SS: My friends at school know that I do a lot of martial arts, but that’s really all they know. They don’t know about my sponsorships, or championships. I like to try and keep it separate.
WS: How about your family?
SS: I live with my mom, dad, our crazy Weimaraner Gracie Rae, my older sister Emily, and my baby sister Stella. They give me so much love and support in my martial arts journey!! My dad has helped me the most in BJJ!
WS: What comes naturally to you in fighting? What have you found difficult?
SS: I’m pretty flexible, so that’s really helpful in every martial art. I think the biggest thing I need to overcome is my size. I’m putting in work on the weights to make myself strong, and drinking all my protein shakes to help myself grow strong!
WS: Who do you look up to in fighting?
SS: I look up to my teachers and partners. They have helped me grow and learn, and for that I’m so grateful! Pro fighting, I look up to fellow Jersey Shore boy Frankie Edgar!!
WS: How do you feel about the future of females in sports like MMA, boxing, and wrestling?
SS: I think the future is bright for us!! More and more women are making their way into fighting and martial arts, and kicking ass!! I hope to be one of them one day!
WS: What are your goals in fighting?
SS: To be world champion. No less!!
WS: Anything you want to add/thank?
SS: I want to thank my mom and dad for all the support they have given me over the years. Without them nothing would be possible! And I have to thank my amazing, awesome, super cool sponsor Sicchic. Wendy is an amazing designer and a fantastic person!
I’d also like to thank Hangrite and Vermont Peanut Butter Company for supporting and sponsoring me.