Jessica Aguilar has not lost a fight since September 2010. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Why is Jessica Aguilar, the consensus No. 1 women’s strawweight in the world, not signed to an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract? The simple answer may surprise some: “They never really pursued me.”
The same could not be said for the fledgling World Series of Fighting promotion. While attending WSOF 6 in October, Aguilar was approached by the organization, which requested a meeting to convey its desire to acquire the top-ranked female at 115 pounds.
“They said they’d call, and I received that call in just three days,” Aguilar told Sherdog.com. “They asked if I’d be interested and what I would need. I told him what I wanted, and I had a contract emailed to me within 30 minutes for even more than I had asked for. They came to me, believed in me, wanted to work with me, wanted to help me and they pursued me aggressively. Once I signed the contract, I haven’t looked back, and they are still keeping their promises.”
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Marcos Damatta, Aguilar now trains under Ricardo Liborio at American Top Team. She will return to the World Series of Fighting cage against Japanese kickboxer Emi Fujino at WSOF 10 on June 21 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Fujino will be fighting in the United States for the first time.
“She is very tough, very experienced, [with] great wrestling, and also, she has faced top opponents,” Aguilar said. “I watched her last fight, and even though she lost her decision to Mizuki Inoue, she fought a very good fight.”
While Aguilar remains respectful towards her latest opponent, she is confident she will be the one with her hand raised in the end.
“I am planning on submitting my opponent,” Aguilar said. “As she has never been submitted, that is a challenge I’m looking forward to.”
Aguilar made her World Series of Fighting debut at WSOF 8 in January, when she took on American judo champion Alida Gray, whose third-round knockout against Soannia Tiem brought her YouTube fame with more than 50,000 views in mere months. While Gray had far less experience, Aguilar refused to take her lightly.
“I work for an organization that I trust to get me worthy opponents,” she said. “When I get an opponent, I bring her to my team and we do our homework. With Alida, we read about her judo experience, and typically those who have competed since they were young and are still doing it are worthy of attention. I didn’t know much about her, other than her judo experience and the YouTube video. Since I didn’t know what to expect, I trained harder for this fight than any other fight.”
The work paid off, as Aguilar scored two quick takedowns on Gray and transitioned to an arm-triangle choke that forced the judoka to submit 2:45 into the first round. The win, Aguilar’s eighth straight, brought with it the inaugural WSOF strawweight championship.
“She wasn’t someone I took lightly,” Aguilar said. “I respect every opponent, and I take all my fights seriously because I want to prove why I am the best strawweight in the world.”
The World Series of Fighting has announced plans to hold an event in Japan this summer, with UFC veteran Yushin Okami as the headliner. Aguilar is no stranger to fighting in Japan and hopes to partake in the action.
“I’m very interested in getting on the Japan side,” Aguilar said. “I love it. It will be my fourth or fifth time there. I love the culture and respect. That is where it all started.”