Saturday, February 02, 2019

There have been few MMA fighters in the last year who have had a crazier time with booked fights than Sijara Eubanks. After missing out on a title shot due to a failed weight cut, Eubanks put together a solid win over Lauren Murphy. From there, 'Sarj' was again granted the flyweight title shot that she earned on The Ultimate Fighter, this time for the vacant belt vs. Valentina Shevchenko as the headliner in Madison Square Garden. That fight too was canceled as a result of the UFC rebooking Shevchenko for her eventual title fight against Joanna Jedrzeczyk.

Even though it’s been a rollercoaster for Eubanks, she holds a positive attitude towards the whole ordeal. She now thinks less about what could have been and instead focuses on getting towards that title shot again and bettering her skills. However, it appears that, for the time being, that will no longer be in the flyweight division.

“I think the best immediate move for me in my career is to go back to 135 for a little bit,” Eubanks said to the Top Turtle MMA Podcast. “The whole weight thing is what everyone talked about with my career.”

Not only is it a change in the narrative for Eubanks, but it is something that will allow her to work more on things that she finds more important.

“I want to focus on my martial arts - focus on being the best fighter I can be. I can focus on bettering my skill sets in all areas of the game,” she said. “I think 135 is going to give me the chance to focus on my fighting skill set.”

Eubanks feels that making the cut to the flyweight limit was hindering these things. She was spending too much time on weight control issues and not enough on bettering herself.

“I’m just so muscular for 125, it’s hard to make the cut,” she shared. “Between fights, I spend the entire time eating like a rabbit and running like a marathoner. I want to spend more time working on my other skill sets. Working on my wrestling, working on my boxing, and my striking.”

With the full commitment to the move and feeling better physically, Eubanks is excited to start in on her new (and old) division. With a pair of top 15 fighters out due to maternity leave and some others fighting at 145, she sees plenty of opportunity to move right in, which is something she’s chomping at the bit to do.

“I want to get in there as soon as possible. You can ask my manager Ali [Abdelaziz], I’ve been texting him everyday,” she shares. “Mick [Maynard] texted me literally an hour ago. He put ‘Soon!'”

Author Daniel Vreeland is a co-founder of the Top Turtle Podcast, and a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu at New England Submission Fighting in Amherst, Massachusetts.