While her time on The Ultimate Fighter 23 was brief, strawweight prospect JJ Aldrich feels it had a big impact on her development.
While technically she might not have taken a lot from those around her, she was able to develop a new mentality when approaching fighting, and Aldrich believes it will show as she moves forward in her career.
“Because I lost right away it took some of the pressure off and some of the stress off, but at the same time it made it a little bit harder to be in the house knowing I was out of the competition,” Aldrich told MMAWeekly.com. “Being able to go there and do that, the overall experience was a big help for me.
“If I said it didn’t change me, I’d be lying. I think getting to see how the champ (Joanna Jedrzejczyk) trains every day and how intense she is with her workouts, and how much more I could step it up, I think it really helped me out a lot.”
Since her time in TUF, Aldrich was able to pick up a win over Kathrina Catron at FCF 53 in September, which she feels was essential towards preparing her for bigger opportunities.
“After coming out of the house, I wasn’t sure when I was going to fight, so it was kind of a big layoff for me,” said Aldrich. “I like to stay active and not take too much time off between fights. So it was kind of stressful going into this last fight knowing that I had all this time off.
“I went in there and did the game plan. What I finished her with was something I was working on the week before the fight. Of course, there’s always something better I could have done, but I was pretty happy with the fight overall.”
Aldrich (3-1) returns to Invicta FC for the first time in over a year to take on veteran Lynn Alvarez (6-4) in a main card 115-pound bout on Friday in Kansas City.
“She’s fought Carla (Esparza) and everybody else, she’s fought some really big names, so going into this fight I know she’s going to be super-tough,” Aldrich said of Alvarez. “I think this is a good opportunity for me to go out there, even though I only have four fights, and show my experience level is up there with the best of them.”
After finally getting to fight again following much of the year tied up with TUF, Aldrich is eager to make up for lost time in 2016.
“I signed a new contract with Invicta, which I’m excited about, so after this fight I’m hoping to get on the very next card,” said Aldrich. “This will technically be only my second fight this year, so I want to get a lot of fights in at the beginning of the year to start it off strong.”
(Photo Courtesy of Invicta FC)