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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Sijara Eubanks has already come close to UFC gold and doesn’t hope to delay that timeline any longer with her move to the bantamweight division.
After being hospitalized and forced out of the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title fight in November 2017, Eubanks (4-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) attempted to remain at 125 pounds. She hit the mark in her official octagon debut, a win over Lauren Murphy, but came in overweight for her fight with Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 230 in November, prompting the move.
Eubanks has fought at bantamweight before, but will make her UFC debut in the weight class Saturday when she meets Aspen Ladd (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 10. For Eubanks, it’s the start of her title run.
“I’ll be here a while,” Eubanks told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Thursday at media day. “I’ll be here a long time, never say never is a little thing I’ve been saying (about going back down), but I don’t anticipate leaving this weight class anytime soon. I’ve got goals to meet. My goal is to be champion, so I don’t want to keep hoping back and forth and lengthen that goal any longer than I already have.”
Eubanks, 34, said she’s feeling better than ever without having the stress of cutting an additional 10 pounds. She said she “traded in my little sports car for a Mac truck” and is upbeat going into fight night.
What makes the situation even better, Eubanks said, is the matchup with Ladd. The fight is a rematch of a January 2017 bout under the Invicta FC banner, which Ladd won by unanimous decision. The victory catapulted Ladd into the UFC, while Eubanks moved down a division and found her way into “The Ultimate Fighter.”
The chance to fight again and show her evolution in the more than two years since is a significant moment for Eubanks.
“That’s definitely the cherry on top,” Eubanks said. “When Aspen’s name came up I thought it was perfect. She’s my last fight at ’35, my last loss conceptually, because I haven’t lost since then. I’m on a new team and everything like that. To be able to come back to ’35 and the last stop I made at ’35, to be able to get that back, is definitely a little extra motivation, a little extra chip on my shoulder throughout the training process and definitely looking forward to turning that around.”
UFC on ESPN+ 10 takes place at Blue Cross Arena. The entire card streams on ESPN+.
News | MMA Junkie