"This past year, I had a lot of injuries; knuckle injury that made it hard for me to punch and I broke my foot last year. It was just a lot of little injuries. But the back injury kind of set me back for the first time in my career, so it was a little heartbreaking, but it really recharged me and got me back to training. Plus, there is so much exciting stuff going on right now in women's MMA. I am more motivated than I have ever been," stated female mixed martial artist Jessica Eye, who talked about her return to the cage and much more. Check it out!
PC: I will address the injury first; how is your back doing?
JE: Well, right now I am at the gym putting in my cardio, so it's almost at 100%. It was a short, but long wrong. I am back to working out 100% and I got something coming up in June, and my motivation is at an all-time high.
PC: Was this injury to your back that much more disappointing being that it was off of your career-high moment submitting Ziola Gurgel?
JE: A lot of people don't realize, and I think a lot of MMA fighters don't report everything that happens to them; like the little things like a broken finger or even a shin bruise. You just keep on training and most fighters don't say anything about it. So this past year, I had a lot of injuries; knuckle injury that made it hard for me to punch and I broke my foot last year. It was just a lot of little injuries. But the back injury kind of set me back for the first time in my career, so it was a little heartbreaking, but it really recharged me and got me back to training. Plus, there is so much exciting stuff going on right now in women's MMA. I am more motivated than I have ever been.
PC: Given the spotlight that is on women's MMA right now, does that help the mindset going into the gym? I can remember when women first started fighting, I would talk to girls and it was like, "I'm in the gym, but I have no clue when I'm fighting again." Now you can go into the gym with a purpose. Does that help because you can line things up better?
JE: Well, yeah, 100%! I'm about to turn 27 in July and when I got into MMA, I was 19 years old and there was nothing. There was a local promotion just starting up called NAAF and women's MMA was slow business. I mean, there was nothing. I realize you have to be self-motivated. It has to be what you want to do that motivates you, and not being in a certain organization. I couldn't go into the gym thinking my motivation is getting into a particular league or organization. For the guys, it's kind of easier than for the women; I just go in with the mindset of one day I am going to have it and I actually believe that.
PC: Recapping your last fight against Ziola, you came out very aggressive, kind of like you're gonna get her or she's gonna get you. What that your game plan going into the fight?
JE: You know what? I came out so aggressive because if anybody watched me fight before or seen my amateur fights, I kind of have that fighting style. I come right out and throw, but under control. I was able to come in striking and come directly forward. I think that's just my boxing style. I knew that either Ziola was going to come out and throw a lot of punches or just give me a couple of strikes and mix in other things, but instead, she came right to me when I came to the middle. She damn near ran into the punches (laughing).
PC: The summer return that you are talking about, will that be with Bellator or will you venture out for this one?
JE: Well, I'm definitely lucky that Bellator will release me to fight for another organization for this one and that's the NAAFS. The fight is going to be released later this week. I literally got my release from Bellator to fight in it not too long ago. They are busy and they have some big names that they have to get on TV and I understand that. I was supposed to fight; they gave me that chance and I had to pull out because of the injury, so I get it. As long as I'm fighting, I'm happy. I'm not a spotlight hog. I know it's going to happen at some point.
PC: When you look at the landscape of women's MMA, is it a situation to where, like you said, as long as you are fighting, you are happy, so it doesn't matter who you are fighting, or do you have certain people on your radar who you are aiming for?
JE: I am such a fight opportunist in a positive way, not in a bad way. I will fight whoever. This is a sport where it is a process of elimination, like who you fight when you fight them and at what weight you fight them at. I'm just gonna keep fighting until someone gives me my chance. I think I have proven a lot and a lot more than I get credit for. Some of these girls take a lot of bull crap fights against nobodies where every single one of my fights from now and when I was an amateur, if you look at the time I fought these girls, they had more fights, a higher rank, and they had everything more than me and I came out and did what I was supposed to do.
PC: The thing I commend you for is that you are one of the very attractive female fighters, but you really don't use that as a marketing tool. You truly let your fighting speak for you and not your looks.
JE: Well, everywhere you go in society, that's happening; everywhere. Everywhere you look, they are selling you looks. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm from a small town, but I want to build off of my ability and what I can contribute. I'm not gonna contribute by looks; that's what everybody else is doing. I want to contribute by the things that I do and the way I conduct myself so that people can have something to look up to, like, "Hey, I want to accomplish what Jessica did, not because of the way she looks, but how she conducts herself, how she talks, and how she treated others." That lasts a lifetime. Looks go away. You will always find another pretty girl, but a pretty personality is a little more genuine. And it is what it is and I want to affect people in a positive way with my ability.
PC: The Fallon Fox situation, do you think if a girl agrees to fight her knowing the circumstances, that she should be allowed to fight other females or do you think she shouldn't be given the opportunity to get fights against other females?
JE: It's crazy because so many people look at this situation in so many ways, but I spar with guys in my gym that are 145 pounds and some of them fight at 145 and walk around at 160. So I think the situation of preparing yourself to fight a guy, how can I say this...I know I'm just as good as some of the men. They might be a little bit stronger, but I'm faster; I have more agility. So I think that it's a great possibility that a female such as myself or Ronda, I think we could beat Fallon based upon skill. When you talk about strength, of course that's something different because no matter what she takes, she still has the hormones of a man, and that doesn't change no matter what happens because it's genetic. I think every girl that steps in there with her knows what they are getting into when they fight Fallon and I think that's their choice. I don't care if I had to fight her. I mean, if I have to (laughing), so what? I am going to go in there and give it my best shot and do everything that I can to prepare for that person as much as I can and I'm going to win that fight. I think there are so many girls that work out with guys in their gym and they know if they fight her, they could win. That's how I feel.
PC: Last question. Being that you are an attractive girl and this is a social network driven society now, do you get hit on a lot on social networks and how do you handle it?
JE: Yes, I do (laughing)! I have a very...I don't even know what to call it. I have a very great fan base and I think that's why men seem to be so vocal on Twitter and my Instagram. It's even worse on my Facebook. I get random positive things and negative things and I just take it in stride, unless someone tries to hurt me; then they have another thing coming.
PC: I appreciate your time. It was great talking to you and good luck in June. Is there anything else you want to say?
JE: Thank you for interviewing me. I appreciate you giving me the chance to talk and tell you a little bit about my life and thanks to all of my sponsors. I hope everyone pays attention because they are going to see fireworks this year!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]