It has been a long road for mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Jessica Eye, but the former women’s bantamweight contender is finally set to make her UFC flyweight debut tomorrow night (Sun., Jan. 14, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 124 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MIssouri, as she takes on Brazilian finisher Kalindra Faria.
Unlike her first scheduled UFC bout at 125 pounds, which saw Paige VanZant pull out due to injury, Eye, as well as Faria, have successfully made weight and are healthy enough to compete this weekend. It will be Eye’s first fight in well over a year, as she aims to capture her first UFC win since 2014.
“Since the moment I got into the UFC, it’s been kind of a (expletive) road for me,” Eye said during Friday’s media day for UFC Fight Night 124 (h/t MMAjunkie). “From my first fight until some of the other fights that have happened. I’m glad that I took the time off that I did and I’m glad that things kind of happened the way they did.
“Because I don’t think I would appreciate this moment as much as I have. Or realized that, maybe those other moments were making me to this point.”
Most fight fans don’t know this but Eye was competing at flyweight before making her UFC debut back in 2013. The promotion did not have a 125-pound female divisions which forced “Evil” to move up and challenge the likes of proven bantamweight title threats Miesha Tate, Julianna Pena, Sara McMann, and Bethe Correia.
“I had no choice,” Eye said about her move to 135 pounds in order to compete in UFC. “Where else was I supposed to go? At that point, I was 27 years old. What was I supposed to do? Fight locally again and see what I could do?”
Luckily, the promotion has come around and has now opened up a flyweight platform for the best female fighters around. Eye wasted little escaping the bigger bodies at bantamweight and is ready to contend for a UFC title as soon as possible.
“If I focus on me and what my skill set it, there is no 125er in the world that can outclass me, at all,” Eye said. “And I believe that.”
Unfortunately for her competition, including Faria this weekend at UFC Fight Night 124, Eye is feeling better than ever after dropping some unnecessary weight and getting back to her comfort zone.
“Have you ever run a mile before and you ran it normally, your normal weight – then put a 10-pound vest on and then run that mile?” Eye asked. “Then tell me how much slower you are. Tell me how much it changes the ability. Or how you have to be able to run that mile. You have to change the game plan and everything. It’s a little bit harder.
“I think that, now, I am allowed to be at my normal weight class. I’m able to change some things in my training. I just – I feel more like me. I feel like I’m in the right skin, if that makes sense.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 124 fight card, starting with the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.
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