Jillian DeCoursey has had a perfect 2022.
After sitting out the entirety of 2021 following an Elise Reed unanimous decision loss in her Strawweight debut, “Lionheart” returned to her usual fighting home of 105 pounds. In doing so, DeCoursey had an amateur bout rematch with Lindsey VanZandt, scoring an all-time knockout for the Atomweight division.
DeCoursey’s 61-second masterclass instantly went viral and was all over mixed martial arts (MMA) outlets and social pages as far as the eye could see. Ultimately, the win was enough to earn the 38-year-old an Invicta Fighting Championship title shot against the champion, Jessica Delboni.
Taking place two weeks ago, DeCoursey made good on the opportunity as a sizeable underdog. Once again in only a round, the Long Island MMA product methodically struck away at Delboni before countering a takedown into a rear-naked choke submission, forcing the tap. Delboni was undeniably on her best run heading into the bout and the loss is her first time being submitted. With 2022’s impending awards up for grabs, DeCoursey is now a solid option as female fighter of the year.
“I think it’s definitely there if you just look at those are two very impressive finishes,” DeCoursey told MMA Mania on WMMAnia. “They weren’t on scrubs at all. One was against the [now] former champion and the other was a top contender. Like, had she won that fight, she would have had a title fight. They were very talented girls and they were first round impressive finishes, they weren’t things that just happened by accident. You saw the technique, you saw the skill there.”
With this big goal achieved, DeCoursey now has a plethora of options going forward. First, she wants to defend her title. Afterward, any new opportunity will be entertained.
Invicta returns on Nov. 16, 2022, but DeCoursey won’t be turning around that quickly. Who she’ll face next remains to be seen, and if Delboni has her way, an instant rematch will be the direction the promotion takes.
“I don’t think it’s something that should be automatically given to her because even like the last one [she lost], she had to work for it,” DeCoursey said. “She had to go through the [Phoenix] tournament and she did what she needed to do to get another shot. She absolutely earned another shot, and this was like a first round finish. So, earn it back and yeah, I’m open to whatever but I don’t think it should just be an automatic because it wasn’t like we went to a five-round decision or something like that.”