Waiting almost a year between fights is not usually the norm in MMA. Neither is having a job in sales for six months, while also training. That is what Jessica Aguilar did to get by before preparing to face Patricia Vidonic at Bellator 94 in the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.
“I recently left that to again pursue what is my career,” Aguilar explained yesterday as a guest on Darce Side Radio. “It wasn’t me, you have to do what you have to do to pay the bills, and I tried. You try to think about your future and what you are going to do afterwards. I don’t see myself being a salesperson in 10 or 15 years. It wasn’t for me.”
“It’s been challenging. It’s been frustrating,” Aguilar explained. “I am grateful for another opportunity here in Bellator. It seems like they are doing great things. I’d love to be a part of the promotion in the future.
When Aguilar steps into the Bellator cage tonight, it will be her first action since defeating Megumi Fuji in May of last year. Many fighters would probably not be too happy with having almost a year between fights, Aguilar admits to the draw backs, but seems to have focused more on the positive side, and puts it all into perspective.
“It’s hard when an athlete doesn’t have anything to focus towards, or is not doing what they’re passionate about, it’s pretty hard,” Aguilar confessed. “It’s just challenging you know…Adversity, and this is part of being an athlete, or being successful in anything you do. There is going to be ups and downs. There’s going to be setbacks and things like that, but you have to keep pushing.
"That’s what I’m doing right now is pushing forward. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, Bellator 94 against Patricia, and it’s going to be exciting guys! I’m excited to give you guys another fight!”
Aguilar—who is now 14-4—has faced Vidonic before. She defeated her via unanimous decision last February at Fight Time Promotions 8. Vidonic is 7-4 in her professional career, and has never been finished in a fight. Aguilar sees that changing when they square off for the second time.
“I’m excited to face her again,” Aguilar said. “She’s fought a few more times last year, so she’s getting more comfortable. I’m excited for the challenge, and she’s going to get finished for the first time tomorrow.”
Aguilar has a year left on her Bellator contract. With an upstart promotion like Invicta showcasing the top female talent in WMMA, and Aguilar having once defeated the current Invicta straweight champion Carla Esparza; that would seem like a likely destination. Aguilar explained she will think about the possibilities when her contract is up.
“I’m taking it day by day, enjoying my journey here with Bellator, when that time comes, we will figure it out. We will cross that bridge.”
As far as future matchups are concerned—an obvious one being with fellow strawweight, Felice Herrig—Aguilar, again said her focus remains on her current matchup with Patricia Vidonic.
“I’m focused on tomorrow first, and then will talk about whoever or what’s in the future, Aguilar said. “I love, and I welcome opportunity. After this fight I’m willing to fight at 115 in my weight class anytime, anywhere. Just give me a date and I’m there, but right now I’m focused on tomorrow.”
Aguilar has done a lot on her journey to becoming one of the best female fighters on the planet. She has worked in a blood lab for the Red Cross, been a corrections officer in Oregon, and even acted as an extra, playing a forensic, in the Showtime series Dexter. She explained due to her heritage it wasn’t easy telling her mom of wanting to go out on her own.
“I’m Mexican so the culture is really old fashioned, really strict,” Aguilar explained. “The girl doesn’t leave home until they get married, things like that, very old fashioned.”
Aguilar is very appreciative of what she has accomplished in MMA, and experienced in life and travel.
“It’s just been an amazing journey. I moved from home, wanting to see the world, and wanting to follow my dreams, and just be young, you only live once,” Aguilar said. "I know that my parents didn’t have that opportunity so I wanted a little life change. I wanted to do something different.
"Now I’ve traveled everywhere with MMA. I’ve gone to Japan, Canada, Russia, it’s been an amazing journey, and here I am today ranked No. 1 in my weight class, and happy to be here.”
Her journey continues tonight at Bellator 94.