CLEVELAND -- Cleveland-based mixed martial artist Jessica Eye has admittedly been tentative in each of her last three fights, but expects her bout against Bethe Correia at UFC 203 in Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night to be an opportunity to show her skills.
Known for her striking abilities, Eye plans to put them on full display against the former No. 1 contender for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship in front of her home fans in Cleveland.
“Bethe Correia, she’s a striker just like me, not as good as I am, but she’s a striker just like me, and she’s definitely someone that I think will match up with my style well and will allow me to let loose again,” Eye said during her training camp.
“I’ve been kind of going through a weird funk and I started seeing a sports psychologist here in Cleveland, the same one that the Cavaliers use. I’m really excited to go up against someone that I know that I’m better at every, single aspect of the game.”
Eye comes into this contest having lost her last three fights, including the last two by decision, and Correia is on a two-bout losing streak, but a victory could put Eye on a path toward the goal of a UFC bantamweight championship shot.
“After suffering a couple losses, I just really got down on myself, and I felt like I wasn’t connecting with myself as the athlete or the person, just wasn’t putting it all together anymore,” Eye said. “We work on coaching ourselves as athletes physically, and sometimes, we need it mentally too.
“It’s been one of the most empowering experiences. Dr. Jack has been absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t imagine working with a better sports psychologist. I guess that’s why the Cavs use him. My style hasn’t changed, but I feel like for the first time in a long time, my fighting style is matching my thought process, and that just makes me super dangerous and extremely evil.”
When Eye steps into The Octagon against 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, but the veteran fighter is feeling no additional pressure.
In fact, Eye looks at the bout with Correia as an opportunity to get back in the hunt for a UFC championship.
“I think it’s a great fight for me to show and let my hands go, especially in my hometown,” Eye said. “It could be any girl in the UFC, but here in Cleveland, this is where I started and this town supported me from the beginning, and they’re going to support me to the end, but I can’t wait to win in front of them because nothing could matter more than bringing a win back in Cleveland, right in my backyard with all my friends and my family, knowing that every person in that crowd is my supporter.
“Winning two, three fights in a devastating fashion gets you right back in. Now that I’ve really found a new fighter in myself, I think these devastating fights and these finishes are going to come a lot easier than they ever have, and that’s what’s going to get me a title shot, by winning fashionably.”
This is Part Four of our seven-story series leading up to Eye’s bantamweight bout against Correia at UFC 203 in Cleveland Saturday night.