Pearl Gonzalez is back.
After coming up short in two UFC bouts in 2017, Gonzalez, 6-3 in MMA, is looking to remake herself under the Invicta FC banner, where she will make her promotional debut this Saturday, March 24, at Invicta 28, which streams live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS.
The latest offering from the world’s leading all-female MMA promotion is headlined by an Invicta FC strawweight title clash between Mizuki Inoue and Virna Jandiroba.
Gonzalez describes her experience in the UFC as the “highest and most heartbreaking” of her life. After going 6-1 in pro MMA, she made her UFC debut at UFC 210 vs Cynthia Calvillo, returning at UFC 216 to drop a decision to Poliano Botelho.
“I wasn’t mentally prepared for the last fight,” she told UFC.com. “I had too much going on in my personal life. My husband (US Navy officer Javier Keyser) and I were getting ready to move across the country to his new deployment, only at the last minute we were told, no, he’s going to Japan for a full year.”
The distraction, she admits, resulted in a poor performance and getting cut from the UFC.
“That was the worst performance of my career,” she said. “I’m excited to get the chance on Saturday to show what I really can do.”
Now, feeling like she is at her mental and physical peak, Gonzalez is extremely excited to get started with Invicta.
“I’ve watched the Invicta’s events,” Gonzalez said. “I am truly inspired by how they put women on this amazing platform.”
Gonzalez has every right to be excited about her opportunity with Invicta. While the promotion is primarily known for cultivating some of the UFC’s elite talents, including reigning UFC strawweight champion Rose Namjuanas and other top contenders in Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson, Invicta is also starting to become a proving ground for veterans looking to make their way back into the UFC.
The best example of this is Angela Hill, a strawweight fighter who endured a difficult opening stint in the UFC. After being released by the promotion, Hill joined Invicta, improved her skills, and eventually became the Kansas City based promotion’s champion.
Now Hill is back in the UFC and is ranked in her division. Gonzalez sees Hill’s journey as one she’d like to emulate.
“I would love to get back into the UFC,” Gonzalez said. “But my focus is on what’s in front of me. I look forward to growing in Invicta and possibly holding a strap.”
What’s in front of Gonzalez at Invicta FC 28 is a matchup with Kali Robbins, an undefeated prospect with five wins, all of which came via stoppage.
“She’s obviously great,” Gonzalez said of her opponent, “but I’m gonna come in and dominate this fight any way I can.”
When asked why fans should tune into Invicta 28 this weekend, Gonzalez offered a simple response: “Because I will be fighting, and you will see a new and improved Pearl Gonzalez.”
Invicta 28 streams at 4pm PT live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, beginning at 8pm ET.