When Jessica Aguilar steps into the Bellator cage on Saturday night, her career will literally be coming full circle.
The date was February 18, 2006 and Aguilar will five whole days of training behind her decided to try her hand in mixed martial arts. She faced Lisa Ellis-Ward, who didn’t have a wealth of experience, but did have four fights and that’s a lot more than five days of training.
Aguilar lost the fight by rear naked choke in the second round.
Since that time, Aguilar started working with American Top Team, regarded as one of the best camps on all of MMA, and has won six out of her last seven fights with the only loss coming by way of split decision to current Bellator champion Zoila Gurgel.
While it’s not really a matter of revenge, Aguilar will get the chance to face Lisa Ellis-Ward for the second time, but this time around she’s got way more than five days of training under he belt.
“I think it was coming, it was meant to be. I had five days of training when I fought Lisa, and that was my first taste of MMA, so now it’s 5 ½ years later and it was bound to be. I’m No. 2, she’s No. 3, so it makes sense for us to go against each other again,” Aguilar said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com.
“I didn’t know anything I just fought. I just came out to fight that day, but this time it’s going to be a different Jessica. It’s going to be more strategic, more technical and it’s just going to be a different fight.”
Aguilar has completely moved on since that first fight with Ward over five years ago, and it’s not really something that stuck with her either. She knew that in reality she wasn’t ready for the fight world at that time, but now she definitely belongs and wants to claim her spot at the top of the division.
This fight is more about getting a better spot in the rankings and hopefully moving towards her ultimate goal of fighting the No. 1 fighter in the world.
“I don’t follow Lisa, I mean I know she fought in Bellator so I have seen her fight. I’ve seen her compete, she’s seen me compete. We’re good friends, we’re cool, this is just business,” Aguilar said.
“It makes sense when I fight Lisa and I get the victory, what’s the other fight that makes sense? Of course it’s Megumi (Fujii) because that’s where I want to be and she’s the best in the world.”
Despite Fujii actually having a loss on her record by split decision to Gurgel as well, Aguilar wasn’t a big fan of that call by the judges and believes that Fujii is the true No. 1 fighter in the world. Even though Aguilar has a loss to Gurgel as well by similar circumstances, she’s moved on from that and if she has her choice she’d rather face Fujii.
Right now however, the only thing on Jessica Aguilar’s mind is beating Lisa Ward-Ellis.
“It’s not a desire, if it happens, it happens,” Aguilar said about a rematch with Gurgel. “If she can come down to 115lbs again, and we can set that fight up again, I would be happy because it’s more work for me. I would be happy to get in there again and rematch her again, but for me it’s not a desire. I’m over that, it’s gone.
“I’m just focused on Saturday and I’m focused on Lisa.”