Jessica Eye has been on a long, rough journey ever since landing in the UFC several years ago.
In the early stages of her UFC career, “Evil” Eye got off to a very inconsistent start, from having her first win in the company overturned for testing positive for marijuana, to losing her next fight, to actually winning a fight, then turning around and going on a four fight losing streak.
That’s obviously a lot for any fighter to deal with in their career.
And had it been a ordinary fighter, they probably would have been released from contract, especially losing that many fights.
During the losing streak, Eye received plenty of harsh, negative criticism daily, especially on social media.
Refusing to give into the adversity she was in, she instead decided to make a change, a change in weight class that is.
After realizing for years she was a virtual black sheep at bantamweight, she approached UFC management, pleading they create women’s flyweight division, which just so happens to be Eye’s natural weight class, but was denied.
Then came late 2017, and Eye’s wish was granted as the new season of the Ultimate Fighter 26 featured women at 125 lbs. The organization crowned a new UFC women’s flyweight champion in December 2017, in Nicco Montano.
A few weeks later, Eye had her first fight in five years at flyweight, and made the most of it by scoring a huge win over Kalindra Faria by way of split decision.
The victory was Eye’s first since 2014.
Now all of a sudden, Eye had found new life in the UFC.
Her momentum continued at 125 lbs, scoring another hard fought win over Jessica-Rose Clark at UFC Singapore by unanimous decision.
During her post-fight interview, Eye intensely stated where she now stands in the UFC women’s flyweight division.
She told MMA Fighting the outburst was just her letting be known what she’d felt and had talked about all this time.
“Don’t give up and your self belief has to be bigger than what these people are trying to tell you what you’re worth,” Eye said. “So, if you believe other people, than maybe you’re in the wrong sport. if you’re gonna believe what everyone else has to say compared to what you truly know and feel in your heart and if you feel like you should give up after that much, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing this. This sport is really hard and it’s extremely taxing. If you can’t accept the losses, then you don’t deserve the wins.”
In a span of five years, Jessica has gone from being on the brink of termination, to potential contender, which explains her emotional elation after defeating Rose-Clark, and why Eye is here for the long haul in the women’s flyweight division.
“It’s definitely a plethora of things,” Eye said. “But one first and foremost is I’ve been waiting for the 125-pound division to happen, so now that it happened I feel like I’m gonna keep winning until I win that world title like I always believed. It’s cool to see the dreams turn into reality.”
Eye is aware that most of the UFC fans who ridiculed her on social media, forget the fact that while in Bellator, she was one of the faces for it’s women’s division, but Eye isn’t bitter at the fans for that.
“They’ve never seen it,” Eye said. “So I can’t ask them to understand something they’ve never seen before. In all reality, they just don’t know that side, which is fine. It is what it is. I can’t show who I am with my words, so I’ll just do it with my fighting style.”
Eye also expressed her interest in the outcome of the potential title bout between Montano and top contender Valentina Shevchenko next month, and perhaps will demand a title shot shortly there after.
“They can either let me have the top fights now and let me kick their ass and win the title or they can feed me whoever and I’ll kick their ass,” Eye said. “Maybe they can learn something. I’ve took a lot of losses and learned a lot about myself and that’s why I’m gonna get all these victories. I’m gonna get all these wins now.”
Before Eye set her sites on a title opportunity, she wants to renegotiate her UFC contract first, she says she’d like to get it done before her next appearance in the octagon.
Apparently a pursuit in free agency is out of the question according to the outspoken Ohio native.
“Hell no,” Eye said. “I want this title. There’s no chance of me going anywhere. I want the UFC title. I didn’t come here to not get it.”
After her contract situation is squared away, Eye plans on returning to the octagon toward the end of the year.
Whether it be a title bout or not in her return is fine with her, all that matters is she’s gotten out of her slump, period
“I have a chip on my shoulder, because I deserve it,” Eye said. “Because I survived probably the hardest time these years and most people would crack up. And I didn’t. And I didn’t.”