Jasudavicius ready for UFC debut
It is a moment Jasmine Jasudavicius has been waiting for for a long time.
On Jan. 22 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, the 32-year-old St. Catharines native will make her UFC debut in UFC 270 against Kay Hansen (7-4).
“I am very excited,” the St. Catharines Collegiate alumnus said. “It seemed like it was so far, far away when I first got the matchup and now I feel like it is almost too soon. I’ve got to pack. I have to get ready and I just can’t wait.”
The Niagara Top Team member will fly to Las Vegas on Jan. 12 for some training and then drive from there to California.
“I am going to get away and get my mind ready to scrap.”
She can’t wait for her inaugural UFV fight.
“I have been training for so long and to actually do it is crazy. It is going to be a wild experience and I am looking forward to actually competing.”
The Jan. 22 event, which has two title fights, will see Jasudavicius fighting in front of her biggest crowd ever.
“They will pack everyone in and it is going to be a huge one,” she said. “That excites me because I prefer fighting in front of a big crowd. I don’t really like when there is no crowd or a small crowd. The bigger, the better for me personally.”
Jasudavicius became the first Canadian female to be given a UFC contract by UFC president Dana White after recording an unanimous decision over Julia Polastri Sept. 14 on White’s Contender Series 39. She had previously competed on the Cage Fury Fighting Championships and has a pro MMA record of 6-1.
Her signing with the UFC is a big deal.
“It’s like signing into the NHL. It is the peak organization for fighting and it is making it into the best organization in the world.”
Jasudavicius has a four-fight contract with the UFC.
“I can do them all in one year and renegotiate the contract or split into it two years or however it works.”
At each event, she is eligible for bonuses for winning, fight of the night, submission of the night and finish of the night.
She started to think fighting with the UFC would be a possibility when she was signed to fight in the Contender Series.
“I always thought that I was good enough and that I could do it but that gave me the evidence that I did belong.”
Jasudavicius feels she has made significant improvements in her fighting in the past few years, especially with her defence.
“Before it was take one to give one kind of thing but now I am giving one and not taking one first.”
That defensive approach was honed through specific training.
“When we were in Vegas, we met a guy named Matthew Jelly who is a striking coach originally from Alberta,” she said. “We were fortunate to snag him and he has been living with us for the past little while now. He has really been evolving my striking.”
Jasudavicius know she is a work in progress as a MMA competitor.
“Every fight you see where you are lacking regardless whether it gets exposed or not. You get a lot of information after each fight and we will see what happens after this fight and what goes on.”
Her motivation is a desire to reach her potential.
“This world is your oyster and I think fighting in a cage is the coolest thing in the world so why not try my hardest at it? I don’t want to go into anything halfway,” she said. “If I am going to do something, I want to dive in headfirst and see where it takes me.
“I will always be able to sleep at night knowing that I tried my hardest.”
Her coaches include Jelly, Matthew DiMarcantonio and Chris Prickett. They have all helped keep her on point with her training during the pandemic.
“There have been a few struggles because of it but I was very fortunate to be able to train throughout. Any time there was anything like a lockdown I have two of my coaches living in the house with me. No matter what, I was able to get in my work.”
Jasudavicius has been involved in MMA fighting for about six and half years. Prickett, a MMA trainer and Brock Wrestling Club coach, introduced her to the discipline when he invited her to tag along during a trip in which he was helping Jason Saggo get ready for a fight. During the trip, she got a chance to spar with Saggo who encouraged her to take up the sport. When she returned to St. Catharines, she did just that and now finds herself fighting on the sport’s biggest stage.