CLEVELAND -- It has long been said that good things come to those who wait, and for mixed martial artist Jessica Eye, plying her craft in front of hometown fans is that good thing.
When Eye steps into The Octagon at UFC 203 inside Quicken Loans Arena for her fight against former top-ranked women’s bantamweight contender Bethe Correia Saturday night, it will mark the first time she has fought in Cleveland since signing her initial contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2013.
“I am so excited to fight on UFC 203, the first-ever Cleveland UFC card at The Q,” Eye said during her recent training camp. “After my teammate (Stipe Miocic) won the world title, and the Cavs doing what they did in bringing home a title too, it’s amazing. It’s an empowering feeling, and I feel there’s no better female to have on the card than Cleveland’s very own Jessica Eye.”
Currently, the city of Cleveland is on a roll when it comes to sports successes, a trend that her teammate, Miocic, started with a knockout of Fabricio Werdum to win the UFC heavyweight championship back in May.
In the main event of UFC 198 at Arena Atletico Paranaense in Curitiba, Brazil, Miocic won the title after delivering a right hand to Werdum’s jaw. The former champion was chasing Miocic around the outer rim of The Octagon, and left his chin exposed. Despite backing away from Werdum’s pursuit, Miocic threw a powerful right hand that floored the former titlist.
On the heels of Miocic’s championship win, the former-Lake Erie Monsters won the Calder Cup and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals to claim their first-ever league title.
Eye is anxious to keep the positive momentum rolling for Cleveland.
“It’s an amazing town and we have amazing athletes,” Eye said. “It was up to us to finally put our actions where our mouth is and show people how awesome we really are and how amazing athletes that we really are. You see it now. We have three different world titles, and everybody’s just working on more, myself and the Browns included.”
And to thank the Cleveland community for its support, Eye launched a new “Eye Believe” t-shirt, where 50 percent of the proceeds will go to University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.
“Cleveland’s support means everything to me,” Eye said. “Many years ago, I started a company and a tagline called, ‘Eye Believe.’ It was something my father helped me come up with many years ago. Unfortunately, he just passed away from GBM, which is a terminal brain cancer.
“I’m excited to give back in any way that I can, and anybody who’s going to be wearing that shirt is going to believe in me, but also, believe in a cure for people who need that belief.”
This is Part Three of our seven-story series leading up to Eye’s bantamweight bout against Correia at UFC 203 in Cleveland Saturday night.