Refusing to let the bright lights that come along with a UFC debut steer her from a winning path on Saturday night in Anaheim, Jasmine Jasudavicius kept things as normal as possible during the training camp for her UFC 270 bout against Kay Hansen.
“When you prepare for every fight in your life, you're doing everything you possibly can,” she said. “You're training your hardest and you're training exactly what you think is the best to beat this person ahead of you. The fact that it's in UFC is just cool. I'm gonna have a bunch of cool swag after. (Laughs) As for the camp, it's just business as usual and preparing to the best of my abilities.”
Some people will do anything for some free t-shirts. As for the Ontario native’s road to the Octagon and some cool swag, that meant an unbeaten run as an amateur and six pro wins, the most recent of which over Julia Polastri last September earned her a UFC contract. And when it comes to her debut, the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate seems cool under fire as the clock ticks down to fight night.
“I don't know if I'm staying cool,” she laughs. “But I'm doing everything that I possibly think is right and not taking any shortcuts. My diet's on, I'm not screwing around with my training, I'm not missing sessions, I'm not making excuses. I'm not missing my morning runs even though my body feels like complete death. I don't even know what day it is because they're all mashing into each other. But if I do all the work, then regardless of the outcome, I can be happy because I tried my best. I didn't try to cheat anything. And I believe doing what I did will get the win. It's about your character. If you have good character and you're gonna do that hard work, you're gonna reach your potential.”
Now that’s a lot of work for those t-shirts, but Jasudavicius has never been afraid of hard work. Subsequently, the buzz about her making it to the big show started back when she was an amateur, and it only got louder when she won her first four pro fights. But then came a split decision defeat to Elise Reed in August of 2020, and she had to reset.
“You know how going into the fight you gotta have a good mindset, like dream-believe-achieve and stuff?” she said. “Going into that fight, I believed that I was gonna win. I did everything right and I thought I was gonna win, so when I didn't, it was a tough pill to swallow. And it's funny because everybody says it, but it really is the best thing that happens to you. It definitely caught me off guard, though. Before that fight, I figured the next step could potentially be the UFC, and then after the loss, I'm thinking, ‘Okay, how far does this put me back?’ And I was fortunate to only have one fight to get back into that spot. But yeah, it was heartbreaking, that loss.”
Seven months later, Jasudavicius moved to 5-1 with a win over Ashley Deen, and by September of last year, she was fighting in the UFC APEX against Polastri. Three rounds later, she had a win and a UFC deal.
“I feel like going into the Contender Series fight, that was really the most important fight of my life because it puts me in the UFC or puts me back on the regional scene,” she said. “So it was more important in regards to risk versus reward than this fight. Even though this is my UFC debut, Contender Series was the real interview, the real first fight. And now this one is the most important fight of my life.”
And even though the debut got pushed to Saturday from last weekend, the bonus is that she gets to have a crowd cheering her on at Honda Center.
“I was so excited,” Jasudavicius said when asked her thoughts on the rescheduling of the fight. “I love fighting with a crowd so much more. My only loss, it was without a crowd and I remember how eerie it sounded. I prefer a crowd much, much more. So I was beyond excited when I got the change to the card.”
Not bad for someone who only “fell into” this sport less than seven years ago.
“It's weird to make a goal and actually see it through when you initially thought that goal was completely unattainable,” said the 32-year-old. “It's inspiring for future goals.”
UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane took place on Saturday, January 22, 2022, live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.