After starting off her career with sometimes an entire year between fights, to have a quick turnaround after her last bout this past January is a big deal for Jackson’s MMA 105-pound fighter Jodie Esquibel.
“To keep that momentum going, it’s huge,” said Esquibel. “I’ve gone a year between fights and it’s hard. You want to say there’s no ring rust or cage rust, but you know what, I feel it does sometimes play a part in your fights.
“Also, I don’t know about other people, but for me it’s hard (to return to training after a long layoff). I do enjoy the time off. I’ve got a lot of other things going on and when it’s off time, it’s off time, so I’m truly glad I was able to stay in the swing of things.”
Staying at the top of her game is especially important for Esquibel now that she’s part of Invicta FC. She learned that the hard way in her debut for the promotion in January versus Liz McCarthy.
“That fight was extremely tough,” said Esquibel. “I don’t know if everybody knows how well-rounded Liz was. I felt like I needed to control the fight and I think that’s what got me the edge in the decision.
“I learned a lot about myself, training and the next level. I really feel like I grew as a fighter from that fight.”
Four months after her win over McCarthy, Esquibel once again returns to Invicta FC on Friday against Australian Alex Chambers in a featured 105-pound showdown.
“Just like with any other fight, I have to fight my fight,” said Esquibel. “I feel like I’ve rounded myself out and that’s what MMA is all about. People always ask where I see the fight going; it’s an MMA fight, I feel comfortable wherever we’re at.
“I know we both pride ourselves in standing up, which in MMA with the little gloves can be unforgiving, so I’ve just got to stay strong and on my game plan. I know if I perform to my full potential I will come out victorious.”
Following years of sparse competition in her weight class, Esquibel is excited for her future at strawweight in Invicta.
“I went a long time with fights falling through and moving up weight classes because we couldn’t find 105’ers, but now the 105 division is stacked,” she said. “There’s girls coming out of the woodwork and they’re extremely talented and awesome.
“I’m happy to be in the division that I’m at because there’s such a high level of competition. With the pace that I’m going and with some more fights underneath me, I’m ready to make a run at it this year. I feel like I’m in a good spot. I’m in a good place in my life and I’m ready to go.”