Samantha Jean-François Hexagone 10 interview | Awakening Fighters

Samantha Jean-François Hexagone 10 interview

by Rew MitchellPosted on
Samantha Jean-François At Hxmma7 By Yann Levy

Photo Credit: Yann Levy for HXMMA7

A champion brimming with confidence

The holder of the HEXAGONE MMA world strawweight title, Samantha Jean-François, will be defending her belt on July 28, at the Ancient Theatre of Orange in the co-main event against Argentina’s Laura Balin. The fight marks Jean-François’ second title defence after she fended off Brazil’s Andressa Araujo (6- 1) at HEXAGONE 7 with a submission in the final seconds. The 36-year-old first secured the belt at HEXAGONE MMA 4 via first-round submission and comes into HEXAGONE MMA 10 on a four-fight win streak. Opponent Laura Balin, aged 43, brings the greater experience and has previously fought on Invicta FC and ONE Championship. She poses a serious threat to the champion with 93% of her victories achieved by finishes (submissions and strikes).

Samantha Jean-François is a proud representative of Reunion Island. This is where she was born, raised, and discovered martial arts almost by chance through a basic, introductory class.

Samantha Jean-François At Hxmma7 By Yann Levy

Photo Credit: Yann Levy for HXMMA7

"That day, a lot of people told me that I had the fibre, that I had something special. They thought I was fluid, fast, and had a pretty strong mind."

Ten years later, it is as a professional fighter based on the French mainland, that she looks back on her years spent in the tropics, and her choice to build her life and career beyond the island.

"All my connections were with Reunion Island, but at some point, I wanted to go elsewhere. It's a beautiful place, but I had exhausted it, so I left."

Would she have become the accomplished fighter that she is today if she had stayed close to her roots? No one will ever know, but what remains certain is that since her arrival in the south of France, Samantha Jean-François has done everything that she can to succeed as a professional fighter. Firstly by focusing her training in kickboxing, and then through committing herself to jiu-jitsu.

Samantha Jean-François Ground And Pound Andressa Araujo Rocha At Hxmma7 By Yann Levy

Photo Credit: Yann Levy for HXMMA7

"Staying a champion is harder than becoming one"

"In 2023, I'm entering my ninth year of MMA. But in reality, it's only been a year since I have really felt rounded as fighter. Before that I practised MMA, but I had not yet discovered all the parameters of the discipline. It's a sport that requires a lot of expertise," she admits.

Her development is reflected in her cage performance, since in her last three fights Samantha Jean-François has achieved victory before the bell, thus maintaining her win ratio of 100% via finishes, and at the same time earning the HEXAGONE MMA world title.

"Winning this belt felt like a vindication for me. In my career, I have received several offers to take championship fights, but there was always some obstacle. Once, it was because when I went for the blood tests requested by the organization, I discovered I was pregnant!"

Samantha Jean-François Victorious At Hxmma7 By Yann Levy

Photo Credit: Yann Levy for HXMMA7

Today, at 36 years old, the Reunionese is an accomplished, radiant and ambitious champion. "I feel much fitter than when I was in my twenties! Now I want to see this story through."

Despite her high-level groundgame (having participated in the World Jiu-Jitsu and Grappling Championships), Samantha Jean-François is above all a striker by training. For her next fight, she intends to make use of this talent to take a decisive step forward in her career.

"If I win, I would be able to target the very top tier organizations in the world, such as the UFC or the PFL."

• Tune into Hexagone MMA 10 on 28 July 2023 broadcast live from the Ancient Theatre of Orange (UNESCO heritage site)
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