Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC
With a dominant decision win over Hilarie Rose on the Aug. 18 episode of the Contender Series, Buys earned herself a UFC contract and a brief face-to-face with with the boss after leaving the cage. Buys, 25, could be heard reminding White that she’d sent him several messages on social media asking for an opportunity.
Buys elaborated on her struggle to get on White’s radar during a recent appearance on What the Heck.
“For two years I sent him, like, 15 messages,” Buys said. “I saw a lot of people making comments about the thing, all I did was go up to him and be like, ‘Can you write me back now?’ I just wanted a response back to be like, I got your attention. So I told him, ‘I’ve been writing you for two years, I just want a message back.’ And he actually sent me a message back and followed me.”
As for what Buys specifically wrote in her messages, she didn’t shy away from projecting big things for herself and letting White know it.
“I told him a year or something ago, I don’t care how many bit*hes I gotta beat up until you know my name, but I’m a be a star for you,” Buys said.
“I told him about me getting the LFA fight. I messaged him after I won that fight. I messaged him when I found out I was gonna be on Contender. And then I messaged him and my last message to him was, ‘Dana, I’m gonna kill this girl, I promise.’”
It was nothing personal between Buys and Rose. In fact, once the bell rang, Buys would soon discover that Rose was one of the more amicable personalities that she could have shared the UFC APEX cage with.
Even as Buys took the fight to Rose, the two continued to engage in mid-fight conversation with both having to offer apologies for their behavior at different points in the fight.
“You guys couldn’t hear that on the video, but afterwards I’m like, this girl literally I told her to get the F up and I did say sorry but she was like, ‘It’s okay,’” Buys said. “Who’s that nice? Even in the fight, we were up against the cage and she was putting her fingers in my eyes a little bit, like nothing hard, and I was like, ‘Hey, watch your fingers.’ And we were in the clinch and she was like, ‘Sorry.’ I was like, ‘No problem.’
“But I’m like, why is she so responsive and nice and even in the third round I had her in turtle position, you guys could see in the video when she was like, laughing a little bit. She was saying hello to my husband in the middle of the fight and it’s like, why is she so nice? I even told her, ‘Thanks for being the nicest person I’ve ever fought.’”
It’s ironic that Buys’ last fight before finally making it to the UFC was against someone so polite because her MMA origins are much less pleasant. Coming up with a karate and taekwondo background, Buys watched her first UFC fight when she was 14. Georges St-Pierre and Junior dos Santos were early favorites, and then Joanna Jedrzejczyk caught her eye once the strawweights became part of the UFC roster.
Buys ended up taking her first amateur fight just four days shy of her 18th birthday. Her parents had to sign off on it, which didn’t take much convincing since it was their idea for her to start fighting as soon as possible. Buys was expelled from her high school for fighting and rather than see their daughter transferred to another school, they told her to drop out and encouraged her to train and begin her amateur fighting career.
“Nobody’s your friend in high school,” Buys said. “Nobody cared about me. I was in MMA, people talked sh*t about it that I was this fighter girl and then I actually got expelled.”
“I got bullied a lot my senior year in high school,” she continued. “Just stupid stuff, nothing that’s crazy, but I just got bullied. Just stupid, typical high school stuff. But one day they messed with my family and when you mess with my family that’s like a ‘no no.’ I went out there and I just beat their ass and went home and it was really bad.”
Her debut was against Ingrid Medrano, an Olympic freestyle wrestler from El Salvador. Buys admits that she was in over her head against Medrano, so much so that she later asked the Olympian to become her wrestling coach. Later, Buys would move to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, and after meeting future husband JP Buys (it was JP who actually went to Vegas to meet Cheyanne after messaging her some time) there, she went to train in JP’s home country of South Africa.
“I completely elevated my game when I got with him,” Buys said. “When I went to South Africa, not only just physically, but mentally too. We live the complete fight lifestyle. Every single day we journal, every single morning we wake up and the first thing we do is we journal together. We have our coffee and we usually have a plan throughout the day so we write down what we’re gonna do for the day, what’s our training like, and we just keep each other so accountable. We’re best friends, we’re training partners, we’re everything, so why wouldn’t we?
“We never fight, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. We never get into fights over stupid little things. We just live the fight life and we understand each other fully.”
JP is currently awaiting his own opportunity to compete on the Contender Series after a scheduled appearance was canceled due to delays with acquiring a work permit. Cheyanne is also waiting for her chance to officially debut with the UFC. Following her fight with Rose, she received an MRI on her knee and is hoping to be cleared of a potential six-month medical suspension.
When the time comes to compete again, Buys wants to focus on finishing fights as she currently has a lone TKO victory on her six-fight pro resume. Even though she couldn’t put Rose away on the Contender Series, she was mostly confident that White would send a contract her way, even after their humorous post-fight encounter.
“I know even if I go the distance I know that my style is entertaining,” Buys said. “You can never be too sure, so when I got to the chair I was a little nervous because I was like, I wonder what he’s gonna say about me he’s probably going to be like, ‘This bit*h is crazy.’
“I don’t know what he was gonna say, but when he told me to ‘get the F over here’ I was like, hell yeah, yes.”