Jasmine’s MMA career blossoming
Jasmine Jasudavicius can trace the roots of her mixed martial arts career to the Canada Day fireworks display in Port Dalhousie four and a half years ago.
It was there that she met her eventual boyfriend Chris Prickett, a MMA trainer and Brock Wrestling Club coach. Prickett introduced her to the discipline and, after building a 4-0 amateur record, Jasudavicius is 4-0 as a pro and getting tantalizingly close to a shot to compete in the UFC.
The 30-year-old St. Catharines native’s first introduction to the sport came when Prickett asked her to tag along during a trip in which he was helping Jason Saggo get ready for a fight.
“I had no idea about mixed martial arts, the training or anything and once we were there I thought it looked really cool,” she said.
After watching sparring, Jasudavicius wanted to get in on the sparring and everyone told her it wasn’t a good idea.
But after practice, Saggo agreed to spar with her.
“He was obviously being a good partner not smashing me and afterwords he told me that I had a bit of natural ability and if I trained I could possibly do something with it.”
When she returned to St. Catharines, she started to train in MMA.
“I started doing it for fun and then I began really enjoying it,” the St. Catharines Collegiate alumnus said. “I was half-decent at it for being a girl.”
She became completely immersed in the sport when she accompanied the Brock Wrestling Club on a trip to Cuba.
The former Niagara College and Conestoga College police foundations student had a couple of attributes that helped give her a jumpstart into the sport.
“She had natural fight in her and she had a natural work ethic but she didn’t really pick up things super quick,” Prickett said. “She had to work hard at everything she learned and she wasn’t a natural wrestler or a natural striker.”
That work ethic is on constant display at the Niagara Top Team Martial Arts Academy in St. Catharines.
“I am always in the gym doing two or three sessions a day. I am also doing the road work in the morning,” Jasudavicius said. “From the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, I am either training or thinking about fighting.”
She does take Sundays off to rest and recuperate.
“I have to prepare for the week that is coming.”
Jasudavicius also trains at Parabellum MMA in Oakville, Syndicate in Las Vegas and has been on training excursions to California, Montreal, Thailand, Prince Edward Island, Russia, Italy, Cuba and Mexico.
“You see it in her training sessions that she works really hard, is diligent and she has had a lot of great opportunities to train with really good coaches,” Prickett said. “She also has really great training partners and she has really fallen into being in the right place at the right time.”
Jasudavicius is driven by the feeling she gets after a victory.
“It is unlike anything else,” she said. “I have never had a kid before but I think it is probably better than that,” she said. “From people who have done both, they say the feeling when you win is better. It’s crazy.”
Of course there’s always the feeling of getting punched or kneed in the face as well.
“That’s part of the rules and maybe that is why the reward feels so great because the risk is so high,” she said.
The reward is getting closer by the minute.
“She is one, maybe two fights away from being in the UFC and they know about her already,” Prickett said.
She is looking forward to that opportunity.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed that maybe I have a good performance in my next fight and I can get right into the UFC instead of having to do the contender series.”
Jasudavicius hasn’t made enough money as a pro fighter to make a living at it but she is able to train full-time thanks to some generous sponsors.
“I rely on my sponsors but mostly I don’t spend money other than on groceries and stuff.”
She used to work at a youth homeless shelter but her training made it impossible to pick up shifts.
“I am older — I am going to be 31 next month — and I figure if I am going to make a run at this, I am going to put everything I have into it for the couple of years that I do have,” she said. “If I started it when I was 16, I could train a little bit less and work a little bit more. But I am all in.”