Female pro MMA fighter trains bodies and minds in Knoxville

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Shamir Peshewa is a personal trainer, but she's had to undergo a lot of training herself.

"You conquer your fears together, you take control of your body, you take control of your life, and she is like the inspiration to do that," mentee Jessica Worth said.

Peshewa became a fitness model and National Fitness Center ambassador, and after years of mixed martial arts fighting as an amateur, she's making her pro debut in a high profile fight this January.

"I want to give little girls, and I want to give all women, a chance to look at me and say, 'I want to be like that girl,'" Peshewa told Local 8 News reporter Anne Brock.

The fighter stressed that all the physical work women can do really boots mental fitness as well. The muscled mentor for other women said the sweat involved with MMA fighting has helped her get her doctor's okay to not need medication for a genetically based form of depression.

"A lot of times, people think about mental health as something you can't help," she said. "But you can help it. Fitness and exercise really helps bring your chemicals to where they should be in your brain."

Just as rewarding as winning the next big fight, Peshewa said she experiences a sense of accomplishment when she empowers other women, like amateur MMA fighter and mother of two Olivia Parker.

"Now I feel complete and whole, and able to handle anything better than I was before because I have this way of working through what I'm going through," Parker said.

That's an attitude Peshewa was able to develop while earning college degrees and life experiences, following a rough childhood growing up on reservations.

"I did not attend any formal school at all until I was an adult," she said. "I got my GED at 27."

A life of hard knocks built a solid future for Peshewa, a superwoman who wants to make a difference for others.

"I like fighting for people," she said. "I think that's what drives me to continue to defy the odds and continue to fight."

For information on Peshewa's fight in Knoxville on January 6, you can visit Valor Fights.

For more information on Knoxville MMA,
or "like" Peshewa's Facebook page.