For former Bellator titleholder Zoila Frausto, taking time away from MMA had nothing to do with the competition aspect of the sport, but its association with a difficult time in her life.
Following a split from husband and former UFC fighter Jorge Gurgel, Frausto relocated from Ohio to her native California and focused on other combat sports before making the decision to return to MMA this year.
“I wanted to take time away from MMA because it wasn’t a good feel for me,” Frausto told MMAWeekly.com. “I wanted to get away from everything associated with MMA. I still wanted to fight, but everything MMA was so connected to (my ex-husband) that I didn’t want to do it.
“I started doing Muay Thai and kickboxing, and ended up going 6-0 and winning a world title in Muay Thai and winning a WBC national title in Muay Thai as well.”
For Frausto, returning to MMA felt right as Combate Americas was holding an event where she went to college, and it comes at a time where she couldn’t be more pleased with how her MMA training has gone.
“MMA was unfinished business for me,” said Frausto. “I did so well, so fast there, and I always wanted to go back. I’ve been doing everything for MMA, but just haven’t been competing in it. I felt what better way to do it than at home?
“I feel like I’ll be able to see where I’m at after the fight. Everything I’m doing leading up to this fight is great – I’ve never been better. But we’ll be able to tell when I’m actually in there and it’s left. I’ve never felt this good about a fight, and I never felt like I’ve known this much, so I feel really good about it.”
This Friday in Fresno, California, Frausto (13-5) will have her first MMA bout in three years when she faces Jamiee Nievera (7-4) in a 125 co-main event of Combate Americas 31.
“She’s fought three of my teammates and my sister, so I know her very well,” Frausto said of Nievera. “I feel like she’s good everywhere. She’s been around long enough to know a lot, but I feel that I’m better than her everywhere.
“To get the win for me is for her to make a mistake, or for me to make her make a mistake, and just capitalize on it.”
With women’s MMA at a much better point now than when Frausto first competed, she’s looking forward to seeing how far she can take things in the sport should she wish to pursue it fulltime again.
“Especially coming off another big injury, being able to fight again is a blessing, so for me I’m taking it fight by fight and seeing what opportunities I get and just run with that,” said Frausto.
“A lot of women are making a pretty good living. Even up to this point I’ve had to work other jobs and do other things, but now I’m at a point where I can make other opportunities happen if I really want to stay focused on this and continue to do this.”