CLEVELAND -- Cleveland-based mixed martial artist Jessica “Evil” Eye has been through a rollercoaster of emotions, both personally and professionally, since joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the summer of 2013.
Eye has been through everything from a series decision defeats in The Octagon to personal losses, and yet, she has fought her way through all of the challenges just to continue pursuing her passion for competing in the UFC.
“My life is much different now,” Eye said in a press conference following The Ultimate Fighter Finale special in Las Vegas this weekend. “I’m trying to embrace who I am, for my mistakes, for the success. Maybe, this is a chance for me to do something bigger.
“I have to have that attitude. I don’t want to have anxiety. I don’t want to take what happened this week and bring it back to my camp. I want to go home, help my teammates get ready for their fights, get back on the horse and hopefully, fight in New York in November since it’s so close to home.”
Eye spent 10 months preparing for her return to the UFC after suffering a fourth consecutive loss via decision, the latest of which came in front of the hometown Cleveland fans on the undercard of UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena last September, but the wait grew a little longer this weekend.
Eye was expected to make her return on the undercard of The Ultimate Fighter Finale, but UFC newcomer Aspen Ladd pulled out of the bout just hours ahead of the scheduled contest because she fell ill.
“Just stay tuned,” Eye said. “We don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but my next fight will be at 125, and I think that will be the true fighter that you guys have seen over the years. That’s where I shine at the most, and that’s where I know I should be.”
Prior to entering the UFC, Eye completed successfully at flyweight for the NAAFS (North American Allied Fight Series and Bellator, and she compiled a 9-1 record, of which two were earned by technical knockout because of strikes with elbows and punches, one via submission from an arm-triangle choke and seven by decision.
Her only loss came via a rear-naked choke to Irish-born Aisling Daly, which came in a bout for the NAAFS Flyweight Championship.
Additionally, Eye won the Ring of Combat 130-pound championship in just her third professional bout.
Eye may have lost four straight bouts and five of the last six in her career, but those feelings after losses are serving as motivation as she looks to jumpstart her run in the UFC.
“I like feeling like a winner,” Eye said. “I like getting my hand raised. I miss how that feels. I crave that, and I literally crave the way it feels to be a winner. For a while there, I identified myself as a loser, and in reality, I made it to the UFC.
“Some people won’t even make it here. Some people won’t ever have the guts to step into a cage. The past couple fights, I started to identify myself as a loser, and it took me until probably back in December after grappling with Miesha (Tate) and having such an amazing conversation and night with her and her coach.
“They go, ‘Jess, what are you holding back anymore? What is your problem? You’re such an amazing fighter. We’ve followed you for years. What are you holding back?’ I feel like I’ve learned to embrace that again.”
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