At one time Zoila “Warrior Princess” Frausto-Gurgel was the shining star of Bellator’s female MMA division, but following an acrimonious parting of ways, she is ready to move on to new challenges with a new promotion.
“For me it was really a blessing in disguise,” said Gurgel of her split with Bellator. “There were a lot of things that happened, a lot of things were said, a lot of things were done and not done, and I was more than happy to be able to walk away from it all just to be with Invicta FC.
“It’s such a relief for me to be with a promotion that cares so much about their fighters and appreciates the hard work we put in as much as Invicta does. Just to be able to be with them and fight for them is an amazing thing for me and I’m more than happy to go to work.”
Not only is Gurgel starting off a new year with a new promotion, she is ready to debut a new version of herself when she steps into the cage on April 5 in Kansas City against Jennifer Maia at Invicta FC 5.
“I don’t want to say it’s completely different, but I’ve evolved from just being a striker to becoming a better-rounded mixed martial artist,” said Gurgel. “It will be a little bit different than what people are used to, but a better different.”
When it comes to her opponent on April 5, Jennifer Maia, Gurgel told MMAWeekly.com that she feels no matter what happens she will be able to outclass her opponent at every turn.
“She looks to be a tough girl,” said Gurgel of Maia. “I’m sure I’m going to see the best Jennifer Maia that there ever has been.
“I’ve prepared on the feet and on the ground as well, but when it comes to being a complete mixed martial artist, I believe I have the upper edge in everything across the entire fight. I expect her to come her best, but it’s not going to be good enough.”
Gurgel feels now in a new promotion and without all the baggage that has followed her over the last couple of years, it will free her to be more of the fighter she wants to be moving forward.
“There was always pressure before with people wondering when I was going to lose or if I was going to continue to win,” said Gurgel. “After that’s gone with the worst loss I possibly could have had, it’s actually nice, it’s a good feeling to be able to do whatever I want to do and fight the way I want to and be free.
“I love to do this, and especially in Invicta, where it’s an amazing thing to feel actually wanted by a promotion. They want me there and want to see me do well and that’s what I’m going to do.”
With new skills in a new promotion comes a new goal: to be the first woman to be crowned the best in two different weight classes.
“I started with the goal of being the best in the world,” said Gurgel. “I did it at 115 pounds and now moving up a weight division I want to be the first woman to do it in two divisions.
“Jennifer Maia is standing in my way, so I’ll go out there and get that done, and then my goal remains of getting that 125-pound belt in Invicta by the end of the year.”