How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-I've been training for six and a half years. I started when I was 19 years old. I joined a local MMA gym for kickboxing classes after I moved to Richmond, KY to go college here. At first I had no desire to compete, but I was totally obsessed with training. I competed in my first grappling tournament after I had only been training for three months. After that experience, I had been "bitten by the bug". I continued to compete in grappling and after a year and a half I had my very first Muay Thai fight. After that I knew that fighting in the ring was for me. Two years later, in 2010, I made my amateur MMA debut.
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I train at the AFS Academy in Richmond, KY. A typical training week for me consists of grappling, Muay Thai, and MMA classes on the weeknights, with extra sparring, drilling, and free rolling on the weekends. In between, I have conditioning circuits a couple times a week, weightlifting, sprints, and long runs for endurance. All of these areas of my training are adjusted depending on where I am in my camp at the moment though.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you're fighting and where?
-My next fight is July 28th in Kansas City on the Invicta FC 2 card where I'll be making my professional debut. I'll be fighting Suzie Montero who is 1-0.
What is your best experience as a fighter? What is your worst?
-While winning is an incredible feeling, and I maintain that there is NOTHING else like it, I have to say that my best and worst experiences as a fighter are actually the same thing. I have two losses as an amateur, and that experience did more for me as an athlete, fighter, and a person than anything else I've done in my career. Not only did it produce physical changes, but what was most beneficial were the mental changes. You cannot truly appreciate and understand victory and how to attain it without first experiencing defeat. I am grateful for the lessons I learned in my losses because they have made me ten times the fighter I was.
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-Find a reputable gym, do your research, and build a solid foundation. Don't train just to fight. Fight as a result of your training.
What are some of the hurdles that you think Women in MMA need to overcome before Women's MMA will be considered a top level sport like Men's MMA is today?
-There are many obstacles facing women in this sport. The biggest is depth. We need more women fighting so that more experience can be gained at the lower levels. Women struggle to get consistent fights and they often end up in deep waters without enough experience to perform at the fight level. When more and more women begin to fight, the bar will be raised because the competition level will be raised. It’s already happening and you can see the change in quality in female fighters. When that happens, then promotions everywhere start wanting female fights on their card. It all helps women's MMA grow and flourish.
When do you think we will see women divisions in the UFC?
-Soon. There is enough interest in female fighters now to have occasional female fights.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-My coach, Scott Elliott, is the biggest driving force in my life and my career. He expects nothing but the best from me and demands it every day. He believes in me more than anyone else and is committed to helping me achieve my goals of one day becoming the number one ranked female fighter in the world. He was diagnosed with level 4 melanoma when I first joined the gym and I watched him fight it for over a year and win. After seeing that, it really does make you believe that anything is possible and no challenge is too great.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-Kaitlin Young, Cyborg Santos, and GSP are definitely my top three.
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting?
-I love reading and video games. I'm kind of a nerd sometimes.
Of course we have a few questions for the male readership as well.
Are you single?
-Nope, sorry guys! I’ve been in a committed relationship for six years :)
What do you look for in a guy?
-Someone that is committed to being the best at whatever profession they choose, and a guy that isn't afraid to speak his mind and stand up for what he believes in.
What are your turn-ons?
-Guys that are very good at whatever it is that they do
What are your turnoffs?
-Bad hygiene, laziness, and being all bark and no bite.
Any future plans or dreams?
-One day becoming the number one ranked female fighter in the world and then, after that, becoming a great teacher. Right behind my passion for fighting is my passion for teaching.
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-I want to thank all of my sponsors for my upcoming fight! Polanti Watches, Klench Kustome Mouthguards, Vii A.D., Intimidation Fightwear, Goodman Photography, Horsepower Strength and Conditioning, Splitlip Fightwear, Tussle Fightwear, Brawl Base, and Fight Soap.
Thank you very much for the great interview Jessamyn and will look forward to your pro debut this Saturday at Invicta FC 2. For more on Jessamyn please visit her website, Facebook and Twitter pages along with her highlight video on YouTube and her training academy AFS Academy.