Bellator 58: Jessica Aguilar Talks MMA Beginnings, Family, and Bellator

via assets.sbnation.com

Jessica Aguilar is currently ranked as the #2 115 pound female in the world. She is also a veteran of the Bellator tournaments and fights this Saturday against Lisa Ward at Bellator 58. This also happens to be a rematch from her first professional fight. She's on twitter on @JAGATT and her website JessicaAguilar.com.

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - You're training at ATT, how did you come about training in MMA?

Jessica Aguilar - Well, I started about five and a half years ago. I moved to South Florida to pursue my acting career and I joined a boxing gym that was near where I lived and I fell into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class by accident. I started training that and in my second month I went to another tournament, which was an American Top Team tournament, they were looking for a replacement for Erica Montoya because Erica was supposed to fight Lisa War on February 19th of 2006 and they asked me if I wanted to fight. I didn't know what Mixed Martial Arts was, I had never seen a UFC, I was just barely getting to know Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I took the fight with five days. I went to training and I fought Lisa Ward. I lost to her. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - So how did that fight go?

Jessica Aguilar - It was fight of the night. I did lose with three seconds left. It was an exciting fight but I didn't know anything. I didn't know how to defend an arm bar. I didn't know how to defend a rear naked choke. I didn't know anything. For me, it was a good fight because I had no experience. She had four or five professional fights at the time. It became fight of the night. I'm a different fighter now, I've been training now for five and a half years so it'll be an exciting fight. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - You're actually known for your BJJ. You've won both gi and no-gi at I believe that 2010 World, is that correct?

Jessica Aguilar - I won my first gold medal for the US grappling team against Tara Larosa and then I went to Poland to win two gold medals for the US team with gi and no-gi in 2010.

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - So you really do feel more comfortable on the ground. Are you more of a guard player or do you play top game more?

Jessica Aguilar - I'm comfortable anywhere.

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - So for a while, it was rumored that your family had no idea that you were a MMA fighter, is that correct?

Jessica Aguilar - I told my mom this past December so she knows. She's okay with it now and is supportive. She just wants me to be happy and safe. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - So what kind of reaction did she have when you broke that news to her?

Jessica Aguilar - Well, it's in my culture. This is a guy's sport. I'm her only daughter so she didn't take it very well. But after explaining to her that this is a different world now. It's a different era and she has to understand. Now she's supportive like I said and she's rooting for me this Saturday.

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - Now this Saturday you are fighting Lisa Ward, it is a rematch and you have made massive improvements. How do you see this fight playing out?

Jessica Aguilar - Well this is a totally different fight. When I fought her for the first time I had five days of training. Now I have five and a half years and I have a lot more experience under my belt. It's gonna be an exciting fight. We have a similar style of grappling. She's a wrestler but we have a similar style of grappling. So it's gonna be exciting to watch.

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - So this isn't part of a Bellator Tournament but has there been any talk from Sam Caplan about this being a qualifier for a future tournament?

Jessica Aguilar - No, I haven't heard anything about a future tournament. I'm just focused on this bout and then after we can discuss those things. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - As far as Bellator goes, it looks like it will be the home of Women's Mixed Martial Arts, now that Strikeforce's future is in the air. Do you think that more female fighters will start popping up on these Bellator cards?

Jessica Aguilar - Of course, you'll see more women stepping up onto the Bellator platform. With Strikeforce ending next year, Bellator is growing now that they're partners with Viacom. That's a great thing for Bellator and I think that you'll see different weight classes. I think there's gonna be more female MMA in general. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - You brought up the Viacom deal, I wanted to ask you about that. You're the first Bellator fighter that I've interviewed since that deal was announced. What's your take? How did you react when that was announced?

Jessica Aguilar - I think it's great. It's security for us. It's our job security. They partnered up with a huge corporation and now we'll be on Spike in 2013 so I think it's a great move for Bellator to partner up with Viacom. And it's great for us because our paychecks will go up. Sponsorship will go up. We're just going to have more opportunities which is a great thing. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - Your last loss was a split decision to Zoila Gurgel, I personally had you winning that fight. Are you somebody that wants to chase rematches or do you want to let that happen organically? 

Jessica Aguilar - You know what Matthew? I forgot about that fight. Right now I'm focused on Saturday and Lisa and after this victory my next focus is Megumi because she is number one. Other than that I don't care. The belt doesn't mean anything to me. I know that I won that fight and with the response of the media and the fans that saw the fight, everybody knows I won. If I get the rematch with her in the future, great. If I don't, that's fine also. Right now I want to fight the best and Lisa Ward is on November 19th. 

Matthew Roth (BloodyElbow.com) - You mentioned Megumi Fugi. Is that a fight that's on the table or is it just a dream fight for you?

Jessica Aguilar - No it's not on the table. Obviously after this fight, that's the only fight that makes sense for me to go after. She's number one and that's my goal to become number one. It's not on the table yet. After I get my hand raised Saturday then I'll ask the boss for the fight and we'll go from there. 

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