Bellator 115 lb. women’s fighter Jessica Aguilar has been transformed.
The 29-year-old contender meets Lisa Ward this Saturday night at Bellator 58 in a rematch of their 2006 bout, which saw Ward earn a submission victory. The loss came in Aguilar’s first bout as a professional mixed martial artist, and she gone 11-3 since the loss.
But, come this weekend, Ward will be introduced again to Jessica Aguilar, only this time, she should can simply refer to her by her nickname, “Jag.”
“That was five and a half years ago,” Aguilar told HeavyMMA.com, referring to her loss to Ward. “Five and a half years ago, that was Jessica Aguilar. Now, this is “Jag” the fighter. I have evolved tremendously and now have a lot of experience. I’m a fighter now, before I wasn’t, so it’s going to be a totally different person going in there. I’m just excited about this fight. Were both very skilled. I have a lot of respect for Lisa. It’s going to be an exciting fight.”
Aguilar’s transformation was not a slow progression like most mixed martial artists, who take years to climb the ranks of their respective divisions, all an effort to feel the weight of a championship belt.
No, “Jag” can remember exactly when the transformation took place; the fight that helped her make the decision to dedicate herself to the sport in a way she had never done so before.
“I would say when I joined the Bodog platform,” Aguilar said. “When Bodog invited me over to fight for them. I think that was the switch from Jessica Aguilar to “Jag,” just because of the level of competition. It was a different level of competition and I started training much more. I kind of started understanding the sport.”
While Aguilar may have changed her identity as a fighter since her debut under the Bodog banner years ago, the goal for her in this sport has always been the same; she wants to fight the best to become the best.
Currently riding a two-fight winning streak, with her only loss since 2009 coming to Zoila Gurgel, Aguilar is putting together the pieces and making a run at the championship belt. But she is not looking past anyone, realizing that defeating Ward is the next step towards her achieving her ultimate goal, a challenge that she is confident will end up in her favor.
“My focus right now is for Saturday, for Lisa Ward, and that’s what I’m focused on today,” Aguilar said. “My fight is going to be airing on MTV2, so it’s going to be an exciting fight. My predictions, well, I know it’s going to sound vague, but my goal is to be number one, but my focus is Lisa right now. But to become number one, I have to beat Lisa. So my prediction is I’m going to get the ‘W.’”
A win would certainly be a big factor in driving Aguilar further up the ladder towards her aspiration of becoming the top female fighter in the world.
But the championship belt is not exactly why she wants to hold the rank of number one. Rather, she wants to pave the way for other females who want to break into the sport that is predominantly dominated by male competitors. And this Saturday night, she is thrilled to display her skillset in front of the many watching live and on MTV2, as she sees her fight as just another step forward in the progression of women’s mixed martial arts and another chance to send out her message to women athletes thinking about giving the sport a chance.
“I’m just so happy that we get to showcase our skills so that everyone can see that us females fight the same as the guys,” Aguilar said. “We train as hard as the guys, but just to have the opportunity to be showcased on live TV, it’s just an honor.”
“I think (women’s MMA) is only growing. Look at it now. This weekend we have females on two main cards on TV, which is great. We’re going to continue growing. We can only go up from here… My advice to women, all the girls that want to pursue this sport, go for it. Keep training, find a gym, and let’s keep it growing. Five years from now it’s going to be like the WNBA or female tennis. So it’s growing. The sky is the limit.”
Follow Jessica Aguilar on Twitter: @jagatt and like her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Jag-Aguilar/129133953803517)