Sijara Eubanks is back in action at UFC Fight Night Rochester, facing Aspen Ladd for a second time in a women’s bantamweight division attraction.
The fighter is going to be making her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division debut in this bout, which was a decision Eubanks made after taking some personal time away from the sport.
“That was on me, that was on me. It was definitely my decision, it took a lot of personal time after the Roxanne fight…I took some time to myself and really wanted to do what was right for me, right for my career and what felt best in my heart to do. I just tired of almost killing myself every couple of months, it is what it is. I felt like I needed it and I also did some consultation, I talked with a lot of the guys at the PI and a couple of nutritionists back home in Jersey. I think I just needed more time to get to that flyweight division to recompose my body and I was already six months between fights, (it) is a long time…but still, realistically for the type of muscle mass that I carry, I probably need about nine to twelve to get to flyweight and I was just like ‘nah, I don’t need to take that much time off.’ I knew I was gonna have to prove to the UFC all over again that I could make that flyweight cut, I just thought it would be better if I was happier and healthier. I felt like I could be more aggressive at 135, so I made the decision with the blessing of everybody at the UFC to go up,” says Eubanks in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.
Eubanks was supposed to fight for the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight Title at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, but health issues associated with the weight cut ended those plans.
It has been over two years since Eubanks and Ladd first fought, but a rematch is something that Eubanks has wanted since suffering a defeat in the first encounter.
“Everything happens for a reason, after I lost to Aspen two years ago…I was like ‘yeah, I want that one back somewhere down the line.’ You know, as a fighter you gotta move on. You can’t really dwell on losses, so I remember right after thinking ‘yeah, I hope I get that one back one day.’ But you know, just moving on…I ended up on the Ultimate Fighter after that. So it is what it is, so when I first announced that I was going up to 135…I wasn’t sure what the UFC was going to do with me. I didn’t know if they were going to make me start from scratch, from the bottom of the bantamweight division or if they were going to give me someone tough. I didn’t know what was gonna happen and it was kind of just crickets for a long time, I didn’t hear anything and then…poof, out of nowhere my manager was like ‘you fought Aspen before?’ I was like ‘yeah” and then I was like ‘hmmm,’ then it was quiet for another week or two before he said ‘you got Aspen.’ I was like ‘hell yeah, lets do it,’ I think it’s the absolute perfect fight for me to come back at 135. She was my last fight at 35, she was my last loss and she’s climbing this bantamweight division pretty quickly. So I’m really excited to get in there and prove that this is where I belong and beating Aspen kind of checks a couple of different boxes at once,” says Eubanks.
UFC Fight Night Rochester takes place on Saturday, May 18 from the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York with Rafael Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+.