Earlier this year, Bellator 125-pound women’s champion Jessica “Evil” Eye experienced a career first, having to pull out of a fight due to injury.
Originally scheduled to face Munah Holland at Bellator 95 in April, back issues forced Eye off the card. And even though it was disappointing to have drop off the card, Eye remains positive about the situation.
“That’s the first time I’d ever been in jeopardy to the point where I wasn’t able to push through the injury or able to work around it,” she said.
“It was really devastating. At the time I was physically hurt, I was emotionally hurt also because I felt like I was letting everybody down. It was a life lesson and everything happens for a reason and I’m excited to see what is going to come of it.”
Healthy and able to return to her routine, Eye can’t wait to get back to fighting.
“I’m a complete full-time fighter. I train two to three times a day and it’s been my full-time gig for five or six years. I do a lot of travelling with my sponsors, and everything had stopped. So it was crazy at first, but once I was able to get back to it, I felt reborn,” she said.
“I was excited to get back to training and I was happy and I was ready.”
Eye’s return fight at the NAAFS show on Saturday night at the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland won’t be an easy one, as she takes on veteran Carina Damm in the evening’s main event.
“Carina has fought at a variety of weights, so I know she knows how to handle heavier and stronger fighters. I know she’s going to be tough,” said Eye. “My game plan is to just go in and execute what I do and whatever Carina throws at me, I’ll be ready for.”
Eye told MMAWeekly.com that while both she and Damm have faced some of the same fighters, she really couldn’t use those matches as an exact barometer of their upcoming fight.
“I look back on those fights and see how she’s fought particular people and take little things from it, but everybody fights everyone different,” said Eye. “I think Carina is going to step up to the hype and is going to do a good job and I’m going to do the same.”
While Eye might not be able to fully use shared opponents to her advantage, she will decidedly have the home field advantage on June 1.
“The Nautica is where I had my very first fight ever, my first pro fight, my first title fight. It’s got kind of a sentimental value to me,” she said.
“Walking in there is amazing for me. I’m an energy kind of person and every time I walk into there I feel a completely different kind of energy and you can’t ask for anything better.”