Bjorn Rebney, CEO of Bellator Fighting Championships, has made it clear to fans that they will put forth more of an effort to promote women's bouts in 2013. On December 7th, a high profile bout in the flyweight division will take place when Ohio's Jessica Eye squares off with the promotion's strawweight champion, Zoila Gurgel. Jessica talks about the fight and other things regarding the women's scene in an exclusive interview with MMA Fight Corner's Mac Greene.
The Strong Style representative has rolled off five straight victories since her lone loss to Aisling Daly, pushing her record to an impressive 8-1. Two of those wins have come under the Bellator banner. The promotion has been criticized recently for the way they have been handling the women's divisions, especially champion Zoila Gurgel. Eye seems happy with what BFC has been able to do for her.
"To be one hundred percent honest, and I know other people may have a different opinion, but I think Bellator is absolutely great. Since I signed with them they have kept me busy. I mean if I wasn't fighting for them, I was fighting for other organizations. Even when I wasn't fighting they were at least offering me fights. Bellator offered me two other fights within a year, but I had smaller injuries or was coming off of a fight and I wanted to give myself some rest. If I couldn't stay busy in their organization, they allowed me to stay busy in another organization, or do extracurricular activities like grappling tournaments or boxing."
At Bellator 83 on December 7th, Jessica will face the biggest challenge of her career as she takes on the promotion's 115 pound champion Zoila Gurgel. While the fight will be contested at 125, the common thought is that it will have no bearing on the inaugural flyweight tournament next year. Jessica spoke about preparing for the fight and how excited she is to not only face Zoila, but to participate in such a high profile bout that it could easily be for a title in any non-tournament based organization.
"It's like a dream come true for fans and obviously for me to fight Zoila, and even to fight her in Atlantic City. Believe me, my presence is coming. What I mean when I say my presence is my people, my fans, everybody's coming with me because that's the kind of people that I have. Zoila, I'm excited to put the pressure on her."
"Training camp doesn't change. I train to fight my fight, not to fight Zoila's, that's not how I do things. When we train we look where our weaknesses are, we look at our strengths and build upon them. We do obviously look at Zoila to find out her tendencies, but every fighter's different, every fighter approaches the next fight differently than they did the last. If you watch any fighter, they evolve from fight to fight. What it's going to come down to is who's the better woman that night, who's going to capitalize on the mistakes made."
Even though the fight will not be contested at the weight Gurgel won the title, Eye feels that it just doesn't matter.
"When I beat the champion, no matter what weight class she is in, I will be considered a champion. It doesn't matter what weight class, or if they are from NAAFS, Invicta, or a good organization such as Bellator, when you beat a champion people are going to look at you as a champion. Not to say that I don't want a belt because I do, but mentally a win will do more for me than taking home the title."
Bellator 83 takes place on Dec 7, 2012 and will air live on Spike TV from Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The headline bout is the featherweight tournament final between Rad Martinez and Shahbulat Shamhalaev.
Thanks to Mac Greene for contributing to this article. Got a news tip? Send it to us by clicking here.
- Alistair Overeem-Antonio Silva Targeted For UFC 156
- Pair Of UFC Events Receive Venues
- Tom DeBlass Retires From MMA Following Recent Loss
- Jessica Eye's Plan To Defeat Zoila Gurgel And "Be Considered A Champion"
- Bellator Swaps Upcoming Tournament Final Dates
- Vinicius Queiroz's Manager Blames Referee Call Over Recent Loss
- Nike Contract Confirmed For UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos
Get more great MMA news and analysis over at Fightline.