World Series of Fighting 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Not only will this be her debut for WSOF but also for the inaugural strawweight title against Alida Gray (4-0). Jessica is the number one ranked female strawweight in the world and fights out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. We recently caught up with Jessica prior to her big title fight this Saturday for the interview below to learn a little more about her.
How did you get involved in MMA and how long have you been training?
-December 2005 I signed up at a local gym called Punch Fitness that also happened to offer Boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) classes, a new challenge, one that gave me a special rush. Just one month into my new BJJ training, the class instructor convinced me to compete in a regional North American Grappling Association (NAGA) tournament. I went on to win 1st place in my division. I was pumped and could not wait for the next tournament but was disappointed to learn that the woman's division was not included. As luck would have it, a local MMA professional fight promotion just lost one of their female fighters and needed a quick replacement to fight against Lisa Ward who was then a top 10 world ranked female professional fighter. I immediately sought out the opportunity, even though my 2 months of total BJJ experience was nothing compared to Lisa Ward's many years of professional fighting and her 2 time FILA World Grappling Championships. And conventional wisdom was right, I lost my first MMA fight which I had a week to prepare for, but more importantly I proved to the world that I was the real deal and with just a few months of BJJ and a week of MMA experience that I could very effectively compete at a world elite level. During the rounds of battle my heart and determination won me countless fans as I refused to tap out, even when my arm was nearly broken. My new challenge then was how to become a world MMA Champion? I was now 110% committed to becoming the best. Fight promoters were seeking me out and then some very good fortune came my way. Jen Boronico, a dear girl friend from one of the gyms I trained at also happened to train BJJ. Jen gave me a simple message, "if you want to be the best you need to train with the best" and introduced me to American Top Team, the single largest and best known professional MMA fighter gym on the planet. I was apprehensively welcomed, as becoming a true professional MMA fighter takes years of training starting often at very early childhood ages. So the likely hood of me becoming a true highly skilled MMA fighter would be a huge long shot, especially considering 1st (and perpetual) impression with everyone in life is that I am the ultimate girl next door, just too nice to be a "fighter". But, based upon my recommendations and sincerity, I was given the chance to prove that I was capable of training at ATT as a professional fighter. No one has ever looked back :)
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-I train out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. I train 6 days a week 5 to 8 hours a day with Sundays off.
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who you're fighting and where?
-My upcoming fight is for WSOF 8 on January 18th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida against Alida Gray.
Do you have any fight day rituals or superstitions?
-My fight rituals include a prayer followed by a meditation breathing warm up that I have done since the beginning of my career and has worked for me!
What is your best experience as a fighter? What is your worst?
-The highlights of my career was meeting one of my idols Megumi Fujii in Vancouver, Canada and when I started traveling to other countries to do what I love to do which was 2007 for Bodog! The worst is not fighting enough.
If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be and why?
-My dream fight all ready happened and twice which was with my idol Megumi Fujii and the reason it was my dream fight was because she's The Woman and she was the best and will remain one of the best of all times!!
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-My Inspiration in MMA is my master Ricardo Liborio and in life my mother.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-Gsp, Anderson Silva, Thiago Alves and Jose Aldo.
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-Train and work hard, be a good person, never quit no matter the obstacles, do right and always "Smile & Believe".
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting?
-With family and friends and traveling!
Any future plans or dreams?
-To continue rising to the top.
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-I want to thank God, my family, friends, team (American Top Team), media, fans, sponsors (Everlast Worldwide, Garden Of Life, Tommie Copper, Fuel Foods FL, DonkeeBoy, Jawzz, Boca Tanning Club) and the WSOF for believing in me.
Thank you very much for your time Jessica. It was an honor and good luck on fight night! Click here to purchase tickets to Jessica’s fight or tune into NBC Sports starting at 9 PM ET to watch live. For more on Jessica Aguilar please visit her website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages.