Canadian Randa Markos got the nickname Quiet Storm from veteran cutman Jacob (Stitch) Duran during filming of Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“He just walked by me and said ‘You’re the Quiet Storm,'” she recalled with a giggle. “I understand what he was talking about. You’re quiet and then you go in there and you just let it all out.”
So the 29-year-old from Windsor, Ont., made the nickname her own. She says it fits.
“I just keep to myself,” she said in an interview. “I don’t have too many friends. I just do my business and leave.
“I don’t have a lot of time to waste. I love spending time with my family, I love getting things done.”
Markos, ranked sixth among strawweight contenders, faces No. 10 Aisling (Ais the Bash) Daly of Ireland on the UFC 186 undercard in Montreal on Saturday.
Daly (15-5) had been set to meet Claudia Gadelha on a televised April 11 card in Poland but was matched with Markos after the Brazilian was injured.
The main event of the Bell Centre card, which has been shuffled several times due to injuries, drug sanctions and injunctions, pits flyweight champion Demetrious (Mighty Mouse) Johnson against Japan’s Kyoji Horiguchi.
While Daly and Markos were both on coach Anthony Pettis’ team on “The Ultimate Fighter,” the Irish 115-pounder did little to endear herself to Markos recently when she was quoted saying “a win against Randa doesn’t do much for me in terms of title contention.”
“She can say whatever she wants,” said Markos. “She can underestimate me all she wants and we’ll see how it is when we get in the cage.”
Opponents have underestimated the five-foot-four Markos at their peril.
Markos was ranked 14th out of 16 fighters on the reality TV show — Daly was sixth — and upset No. 3 Tecia Torres and No. 6 Felice Herrig before being submitted by No. 7 Rose Namajunas in the semifinals. Daly was beaten by No. 4 Jessica Penne in the quarter-finals.
Markos (4-2) was at the wrong end of a split decision against Penne last time out in the December live finale to “The Ultimate Fighter.” The Canadian was cut early in the back-and-forth bout which earned both fighters a US$50,000 performance bonus.
There was talk of a fight earlier this year with the UFC looking at a possible Windsor card. That show never came to fruition, allowing Markos more time to prepare.
“I’ve been trying to get better, I didn’t want to just jump in there right away,” she said. “I wanted to have some time to develop a little bit. But after everybody else started getting fights and I didn’t get a call or anything, I started getting worried. So I’m really excited for this one.”
The December bonus has allowed Markos to ease her load by reducing her hours as a pharmacy technician.
“It’s been a huge help,” she said. “Hopefully you’ll see how hard I’ve been working (in the gym).”
Markos is still usually on the move, doing most of her MMA training at Michigan Top Team and some of her jiu-jitsu across the border. She works on her strength and conditioning and trains under her original jiu-jitsu coach at separate Windsor gyms.
Markos is a study in perseverance.
She was three when she escaped Iraq and credits her mother for helping the family — she has two brothers and a sister — stay together and ultimately find a safe haven in Canada.
Markos took up wrestling and then jiu-jitsu before making her pro MMA debut in November 2012.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press