Photo by Tom Hill via TomHillPhotos.com
The female American Top Team fighter better known as "Jag" has some of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills of any female 115-pounder in the world, even winning the 2009 FILA grappling championships gold medal.
She was a participant in Bellator's inaugural 115 pound women's tournament and surprised many when she chose to stand and trade with the hard-hitting Zoila Gurgel for the full three rounds and repeatedly getting the better of the striking exchanges.
Sadly, the judges didn't agree with the viewers or the fans in attendance, awarding Gurgel the victory.
Aguilar spoke with MMAmania.com in this exclusive interview as she prepares for her Bellator 46 fight against Carla Esparza in the local feature fight main event. She discussed dealing with the loss, being in Japan during the March tsunami and most importantly, how she's going to get back on track tonight (June 25, 2011).
Find out Aguilar's prediction for how her fight is going to end after the jump.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've got a fight coming up on Saturday against Carla Esparza. Carla stepped in on late notice last year against Megumi Fujii in the first round and she put up a pretty tough fight in the first round. What did you think of her performance because I'm sure you've seen it.
Jessica Aguilar: Yeah, I was there and I did see it. It was a great fight. She put on a good fight with Megumi and our fight will be a great fight as well. She's tough and she's a good wrestler so that will make it an exciting fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): She's more known for her wrestling while you're more known for your jiu-jitsu and recently your boxing even. How do you see this fight playing out?
Jessica Aguilar: Well, like I tell everyone, I train for everything and yes I am a ground fighter and I'm known for my jiu-jitsu. Thank you for that compliment on my boxing by the way. I've been working very hard on all my skills, my wrestling, striking and even my jiu-jitsu. I'm gonna be ready for whatever she brings. If she wants to take me down, then that's heaven for me. If she wants to stand with me then I'll stand but I definitely want to finish the fight on the ground.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Speaking of the standing portion. One of your last fights was against Zoila (Frausto) Gurgel which was extremely controversial. I was wondering about what went into your decision to keep the fight standing with the striker for three rounds?
Jessica Aguilar: For that fight, obviously I wanted to prove to everyone that I could stand up as well. She had said that she was going to go for the knockout and put me out. She was a stand-up fighter so I wanted to test my skills and show everyone else that I was well-rounded. That's what I did and I should have taken her down and submitted her but things happen the way they happen. I wanted to show her that I could stand up.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I thought you definitely showed that because a lot of people scored that fight for you, even giving you all three rounds. The look on your face when they announced the decision told the story of that entire fight. You had to have thought you won right?
Jessica Aguilar: Yeah, of course I thought I won the fight but I have to respect the decision. She won the fight and she's the champion. Things happen and that's the way things turned out. Now I'm looking forward to my next fight against Carla Esparza and my time will come again and that belt will be mine.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You were scheduled to fight in Japan and on fight day, your bout ended up getting cancelled because it was the same day as the earthquakes and the tsunamis. Could you talk about that experience?
Jessica Aguilar: Yes sir. It's been several months since I last fought and my last fight was supposed to be scheduled for Japan and it was the day the Earthquake hit. I was supposed to be fighting on Jewels 12 and we were there, I was already getting ready to leave for the venue when the earthquake it. I'll never forget that experience. I'm happy to be here today and to be talking to you and all the fans, being able to share my experience but my heart goes out to all the people of Japan. My fight against Carla Esparza will be a tribute to Japan. I'm going to be selling some shirts and things and half of all my sales I'll be donating to Japan. It was a scary experience, very sad but I believe everything happens for a reason. I grew a lot from that and I'm standing here today and I'm thankful to be alive.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Bellator has hinted that if they do another women's tournament that they would do a women's 125 pound tournament. Would that be something you would be interested in? I know you aren't exactly a large fighter.
Jessica Aguilar: Right now my goal for the rest of this year, after this win on Saturday is to get a chance to get my 115 pound title belt. They did mention that there could be an opportunity to defend the title and I'm really hoping that's my next fight. I want to finish off the year with the women's 115 pound belt. After that, I'll gladly move to 125 but my first goal is getting the belt at 115. I wouldn't gain any wait to fight 125, but I'd fight there anyways.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I'm very interested in the fact that you've taken the mantel as your own manager and your own PR person. How is that, trying to balance it all with being a professional fighter?
Jessica Aguilar: You what, to tell you the truth, being honest, I don't know how I balance everything. I manage myself and I do everything myself. I really don't know how I do it. No one is going to work for you like you do so I try to do everything and learn as much as I can. It's hard but it's good to do and I love to see how I've grown and where I'm at today. I'm just getting started and learning so much from the back end of the business and as a fighter as well. In the future, I'd love to help other fighters and kids get themselves more recognized, more PR, more marketing and stuff like that, getting sponsorships as well. It's really hard to balance it all, I do everything.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Speaking of how important the sponsorships are to you and some of the troubles that female fighters deal with, how important is it for you to go out there and take care of business on Saturday night?
Jessica Aguilar: Oh it's very important. This fight is so important. This past half year and the last few months of last year have been a roller coaster for me. I'm ready and I'm so hungry and I can't wait to step in the cage. You'll just have to stay tuned. I'm really happy and excited and honored to have another opportunity and I'm ready to go.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How does this fight end against Carla on Saturday?
Jessica Aguilar: The fight will end with submission, I'll tell you that much. I want it to end in the first round but I also kinda want to have fun. It's been seven long months and I'd love to get a chance to showcase my skills and how I've grown longer but it'll be a first round submission.
Jessica would like to thank her fans, family, training partners and sponsors for their support. Especially Boca Tanning Club, OTM Fight Shop, American Top Team, South Miami Sports Performance and Palm Beach Boxing
So what do you think Maniacs?
Did Aguilar get hosed in her last fight for Bellator? What are your thoughts on women's MMA?