Jessica Aguilar: World Series of Fighting has world’s best strawweight – me
World Series of Fighting strawweight Jessica Aguilar isn’t worried about losing her No. 1 ranking when the UFC eventually crowns its inaugural 115-pound champion later this year.
Aguilar (16-4) has been considered the top fighter in her weight class for some time, but when UFC officials recently announced the 20th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show would serve as the introduction of the women’s strawweight division, the 31-year-old was nowhere to be found on the show’s original roster.
That’s because just days before, Aguilar had signed a contract with WSOF, making her the first female fighter to ink a deal with the organization.
The UFC bringing in strawweights is an opportunity women in the weight class have been longing for, and it seemed Aguilar was the victim of bad timing with her WSOF signing.
She doesn’t see it that way, though, and claims to have no regrets about what many view as a missed opportunity to compete on the sport’s grandest stage.
“I’m happy about my decision – everything happens for a reason,” Aguilar told MMAjunkie. “How could I be unhappy when somebody believes in you and gives you an opportunity? You can’t get greedy, so I’m in the right place right now.”
While Aguilar is comfortable with her decision to sign with WSOF, she is also excited by the opportunity the UFC is providing other fighters in her division. She’s not included in that group, but she doesn’t believe that takes anything from the significance it will have on the sport as a whole.
“I was really excited to hear [about UFC's strawweight division] and see all those ladies from Invicta signed over to the UFC,” Aguilar said. “This sport is growing, my weight class is in demand right now, so it’s a great thing for the strawweight division.”
Like many others, Aguilar considers herself to be the best in her weight class. But when the UFC eventually crowns its champion, public opinion on the subject will muddle. Rightfully or not, fans typically view the UFC champ as No. 1, and as of now Aguilar will have no chance to prove otherwise.
The possibility of losing her top ranking doesn’t concern “Jag,” though. She believes she has and will continue to perform well enough against the competition to be considered the best until an opponent proves otherwise.
“I am the best in the world,” Aguilar said. “I don’t worry about the spotlight and things like that. There’s enough to go around. I appreciate what I have, I’m grateful where I’m at and I’m really happy for those girls. We all have our spotlight. There’s enough to go around.”
Aguilar’s signing with WSOF was a milestone moment for the promotion, which is still in its infancy. It was also one that came as somewhat of a surprise, as WSOF has never promoted a female fight.
While the appeal of being the first woman in the organization wasn’t clear at first, Aguilar said the choice to sign with WSOF was easy and she didn’t need a hard sell to make up her mind.
“[The appeal] was someone that believed in me and wanted to give me an opportunity,” Aguilar said. “The professionalism and everything that they brought, nobody else brought, so I decided to go with them. It was not a sell.
“They sign the best in the world, and I’m ranked No. 1 in the world in the strawweight division. They were serious. They signed the best strawweight in the world and they said, ‘Don’t worry, all you have to do is train hard and we’ll get you the best competition out there.’ So here I am today, happy to be part of WSOF.”
Aguilar will make her WSOF debut at “WSOF 8: Gaethje vs. Patishnock” Jan. 18 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Holywood, Fla. She meets Alida Gray (4-0) for the organization’s inaugural strawweight title live on NBC Sports Network.
Gray’s MMA experience is inferior to that of her opponent. While Aguilar isn’t facing a ranked fighter, she is confident Gray will provide a stern test for her first WSOF match – though she still expects to win in one-sided fashion.
“I fight the best. I want to challenge myself, and I’ve done so and I want to continue to do the same thing,” Aguilar said. “I’d like to end the fight by submission or knockout by the second round, so that’s kind of the plan.”
While the UFC may have swooped up a strong contingent of the world’s top 115-pound female fighters, Aguilar believes the cream of the crop rests in WSOF.
Aguilar plans to maintain her ranking against any challenger put before her.
“I’ve earned my spot and I’m the best in the world,” she said. “I am ranked No. 1 in the world and WSOF has the best strawweight in the world – which is myself.”
For more on WSOF 8, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.