"I think women's MMA really needs it. I think it's really difficult for women to progress just because we have a lot of girls fighting at catchweights. I'm one of them. I have fought at catchweights and fought up a weight class. There just haven't been a whole lot of opportunities, so with a show like Invicta putting women on the main stage, it's absolutely exciting and I'm very honored and excited to be a part of it...there hasn't been a lot of stability for the sport for women and I think this show is really what we needed to be able to compete as much as we want to. We train hard every day and there is not a whole lot of money in women's MMA, so the women that are in it is because they love it and they want to compete. So I think to have something around like Invicta is awesome and amazing," stated female mixed martial artist Jessica Penne, who talked about her upcoming clash with Lisa Ellis-Ward this weekend at the debut of Invicta Fighting Championships.
PC: Jessica, obviously it's busy times for you. How is your training going for your Invicta Fighting Championships fight on Saturday night?
JP: Training is going really, really well. I'm doing great. I have really good coaches and teammates pushing me hard every day, so I'm really looking forward to the challenge.
PC: You train with some top level fighters, like Mark Munoz and Jake Ellenberger. When you look at this card, do you feel you have the best training partners of all the ladies competing?
JP: I feel that the people that I train with are absolutely amazing. When we put it all together, you get a really well-rounded fighter. The training I get is really amazing and they have great energy.
PC: Lisa Ellis-Ward has a ton of experience. She is a tough girl. How do you see this fight playing out?
JP: You know, I'm not really sure how it's going to play out, but I'm prepared for wherever the fight goes. I'm interested to see how it will go. I'm comfortable wherever it ends up, so it will be exciting.
PC: When you heard that you would be a part of this all female card and that Lisa was gonna be your opponent, what was your initial reaction to both situations?
JP: I was extremely excited when an all-women's show came into play. I think women's MMA really needs it. I think it's really difficult for women to progress just because we have a lot of girls fighting at catchweights. I'm one of them. I have fought at catchweights and fought up a weight class. There just haven't been a whole lot of opportunities, so with a show like Invicta putting women on the main stage, it's absolutely exciting and I'm very honored and excited to be a part of it. When I decided to make the drop down to 105, I was having trouble finding opponents here in the States and shows that would put us on were more interested in the heavier weights, so I was just looking to get an opponent at my weight and whoever it was, I was excited about it. I think Lisa is a good fighter and a tough girl and I'm looking forward to accepting her challenge.
PC: You have literally averaged two fights since your career has started. Are you hoping to become more active through an organization like Invicta?
JP: I know Invicta has other shows lined up, which is very exciting. Yeah, it's been really hard to find shows and get on their card because it's like, "Yeah, we'll put you on, but you have to find your own opponent." They'll put you on, but you had to find your opponent, so there hasn't been a lot of stability for the sport for women and I think this show is really what we needed to be able to compete as much as we want to. We train hard every day and there is not a whole lot of money in women's MMA, so the women that are in it is because they love it and they want to compete. So I think to have something around like Invicta is awesome and amazing.
PC: The thing that I respect about the women that fight is, like you said, there is not a lot of money in it for you girls and most of you hold down regular jobs and still find time to train hard and fight hard. Is that your situation as well?
JP: Yeah, I don't know many women who can live just off of fighting. It's tough and even the women that are active still have other jobs to make money. I think it makes it that much harder to train and it shows just how dedicated these women that compete are because it's very little pay and very little acknowledgement, and it's a lot of hard work you put in to be able to compete just to show what you got. Again, shows will put you on, but it's on the undercard and you're not getting paid and women don't really get sponsored, so I'm looking forward to the things that this show will bring.
PC: What are your days like?
JP: I work and I train. Even when I don't have a fight, I'm always training at least once or twice a day. I'm always doing something physical and being active. I'm always looking to better myself and that's my lifestyle and that's what I do. I just want to be prepared for any opportunity that comes along.
PC: Obviously if there aren't many opponents, there aren't many bodies to train with as far as females are concerned. Do you prefer to train with men or women?
JP: I prefer to train with people that are close to my size (laughing) because it's difficult to fight if you have I have a couple of females that I train with, but they are at higher weights. It's hard because when you have a girl that's at your weight, it's tough to train with them because we might have to fight each other. It's rare that you're going to find somebody close to your size to train with without risking losing an opponent in the future. That has happened to me, so I train with men and women and I think they both push me in different ways. When I train with females, they move very differently than the men do, so I think it's important to train with both men and women.
PC: Women always deliver exciting fights. Are you planning on stealing the show or are you approaching this fight as another fight?
JP: I just I really don't worry about that. I'm out there for me and my teammates and my coaches. I fight because I love to compete and I just want to do the best that I can for that. I'm not really worried about stealing the show. I just hope we bring out the best in each other and make a good showing for ourselves.
PC: I appreciate your time. I know you have had a busy schedule; best of luck to you. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
JP: I just want to thank my coaches and teammates at Reign Training Center, Black House, Check Mat BJJ and Kings MMA. Also my strength and conditioning coaches at Innovative Results, and last but not least, RVCA!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]