The World Series of Fight recently made a big splash in the women’s MMA scene by signing one the preeminent WMMA fighters in the world in Jessica Aguilar. MMAFrenzy spoke with the growing promotion’s latest signing about the surprising move that rocked the WMMA world earlier this week and a host of other topics including Invicta FC, TUF 18, and more.
So this deal seemed somewhat surprising to many in the MMA world, how did the deal between you and the WSOF come about?
I actually went to their last event in Florida [WSOF 6] because a lot of my teammates were on the card. I ended up talking to J.D. Rodriguez, who works with the WSOF, and he mentioned the interest of having women in the WSOF. So we talked and then I got an email about them wanting to speak to me. One thing led to another and now here we are today with being a part of the WSOF family.
When Bellator MMA folded their women’s division earlier this year it seemed like a bit of crossroads for not only you, but the remaining fighters with the promotion. What made the WSOF the right fit for you over other promotions right now?
We were talking to Invicta and we had negotiated a deal of what we wanted. I think they were going through some things because they never got back to us. A lot time went by with no word, so then the WSOF came to me they said “what do you want [to sign]?” I was negotiating with other promotions, but decided that the WSOF really wanted me because they acted quick and made it happen. So we made the deal and that was that.
Any thoughts on an opponent for your debut?
Yeah, anyone they put in front of me is who I’ll fight. I will always look to put on a good show and it doesn’t matter who it is against. I train to fight, this my sport, and I don’t really see the need to pick fights. I just want to fight. I want to train, perform, and get my hand raised. As long as I do that and can get my story out there, pay my bills, help my mom, etc. that’s all I want. I will just continue to do what I love to to do, which is train and fight.
How gratifying is for you to see WMMA grow exponentially over the last two years when you have been grinding it out for years?
It is really gratifying and it is a dream and a honor to be given a place to showcase my skills. WSOF believes in me and they want to give me that platform to showcase around the world. Latin America is a huge market and I am really excited to be a part of the WSOF’s plans. I have been out here competing since 2006 and I just fought my 20th fight.
I always believed this time would come, I knew there’d be rough patches on the road, but I just kept having fun and learning. It is very gratifying to see how far the sport has come, not only for the females, but for MMA in general. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now.
As a WMMA fighter, what has it been like to see The Ultimate Fighter have women on the show for the first time?
I have seen it, and while I haven’t seen them all, I have seen enough to think that Miesha and Ronda are doing a great job. All of those girls are also doing a great job and I am really, really happy for them. Anyone that is happy and successful in what they do I cannot help but be happy for them.
It has been interesting to see a lot of the women on TUF, like Raquel Pennington’s issues with coming out to her family, get their stories told on a larger platform. How refreshing is it for you to not only see that kind of background info but also see the women’s fights become the most-viewed aspect of the show?
You know, it was only a matter of time before this happened. I have said that for years. The UFC and Dana White are smart people and they have good management. Once they found someone that was hungry and had what it takes to be a star, [WMMA in the Octagon] was going to happen. And it did! They found Ronda and then they showcased other women and have continued to sign other women around the world. It is great.
I know the fight did not go how anyone planned, but what was it like to face WMMA legend Megumi Fujii in her final fight in Japan? Has that rivalry been a special career moment for you?
That fight was the biggest of my career. Megumi has been an idol of mine since I got into the sport. So fighting my idol twice, the second in her hometown and having my mom with me, it was a very special trip and a very special fight for me. Megumi and I are friends, so it was a very special fight. It didn’t end up the way I wanted it to but the Japanese fans were amazing, it was an honor to meet Megumi again in her retirement fight.
You mentioned your mom traveling with you to Japan, was this the first time she’d come with you?
She’s a very tough woman, I know how she is and she knows how I am. She is supportive of what I do but she had never been to one of my fights. This was a pretty big opportunity to take her to Japan, where everything is about respect and people are very respectful as well. I just wanted her to see how people treat me, the kind of people I am around, and it was just a GREAT experience to make this trip.
Our relationship, while it is still kind of the same, really bonded on that trip because she saw me doing what I love to do. It let her see what I do and have her see the crowd respond. My mom did not now I fought until about two years ago, I kept it from her because I felt she’d worry but this was the first time she saw me in there.
Today is the UFC’s 20th anniversary, what was your first exposure to the promotion and how did it affect your career in MMA?
My first exposure to the UFC was in 2006, I believe. I ended up seeing a show live because I was given tickets and I ended up fighting my first fight two months later against Lisa Ward [now Ellis]. That’s kind of how I really got into the sport. I was offered a fight at AFC 15 in February of 2006 and I wanted to be there. I took the fight on a few days notice and I decided after I fought that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. So I joined up with American Top Team in 2006 and now I am here today where I am ranked number one in the world and I have traveled the globe and fought all over.
How much of an effect on your career did martial arts legend Bruce Lee have on your career?
Oh my god, Bruce Lee! He really did [have an effect]. I used to watch his movies with my brothers and I thought he was a superhero. I never imagined being kind of like Bruce Lee and having skills. I look back and he had a big impact on me but I also think he had a big impact on everyone in the sport. He kind of lives on through the sport now.
Is there anything you want to say to the fans or anyone you want to thank?
I am very grateful for this new chapter in the WSOF family and I want to thank them for giving me an opportunity to showcase my skills and take my story around the world. I want to help people around the world in anyway I can by helping educate people, this is my platform to make a difference and I want to thank them for that. I also want to thank my fans, the media, and everyone else who has helped me along my journey at ATT and has believed in me.
Be sure to stay tuned to MMAFrenzy for more news about Aguilar’s debut and make sure to follow the fighter on twitter @jagatt.