Jessica Eye has recently gone through a rough stretch iin her MMA career and life.
The UFC bantamweight opened up to Champions, along with a group of reporters, in a pre-fight scrum leading up to her UFC 203 bout with Bethe Correia. Eye talked about the loss of her father and her recent losing streak.
"I'm out of tears and all the bad emotional stuff," Eye said. "I'm so glad to be back where I am at this time, you know. It's an important part of my career, you know. It's a do or die for both me and Bethe, and unfortunately, they didn't put her on the right neck of the woods to start out this journey."
Eye is currently 1-4 in her past five trips to the Octagon, and Correia has a 3-2 UFC record, thus far. This could very well be a loser-leaves-town type of fight, as fighters with similar records in the past have been cut from the organization. Eye understands the position she's in.
"You know, I'm not being told I'm getting cut, but I'm looking at it that way, you know what I mean," Eye explained. "I know who the UFC is, and they got a business to run and I have my own business to run. And lately, I've been operating under crappy circumstances, and underestimating myself, and now, it's time to turn it on. And what better place to be, than to be right where I'm at this very moment, in that tier, you know. Like, I never used to be a really crazy believer and you know, God and all this stuff, but I'm a believer in energy, and I believe there is a reason I'm here under these circumstances, and I'm fortunate. I really am."
Unfortunately for Eye, the "crappy" circumstances she's been operating under involve a rocky relationship with her father and his recent passing due to cancer.
"Me and my father have had a very up-and-down emotional relationship, and as much as times as I was mad at him, and we've had really terrible moments, he always was there for me," Eye said. "And during the times that I lost, they were times that he wasn't in my life. I realized our relationship wasn't the best that it was, but it was almost like it gave me the power that I needed to be the better me. And unfortunately, my father passed away in July, and God rest his soul, because he lost a battle to cancer and I never knew how crazy cancer could affect somebody the way that it could.
The other day he left me a tooth pick on my motorcycle, and my dad always had a toothpick, you know. He always had a piece of straw or a toothpick in his mouth, and the other day, I was riding my motorcycle and randomly a tooth pick showed up. I'm a firm believer my dad is back in my corner and we were able to put away all the bad moments that we had. Thank God my sports psychologist was able to help me before he passed away and I was able to tell him I love him, and he also told me he loved me, too."
Eye says this unfortunate event will fuel her in her bout with the Brazilian this Saturday, and believes she's now a different person.
"Yeah, why wouldn't it?," Eye said. "I got a spirit in the sky, man. I got someone that's looking out for me. I got the energy that I almost lost for a little bit. If I could give any advise to anybody, it's that parents don't come with a guideline or a book on how to raise kids. As a child, you don't get stipulations, you just get told to follow the rules, and sometimes you don't know how to because you're just not grown up. I'm 30 now, and I understand things differently and I'm different."
The Cleveland native says she will not settle for anything less than a knockout come Saturday night, and hopes to finish Correia just how Stipe Miocic finished Fabricio Werdum to become the UFC heavyweight champion.
"Its a knockout guys," Eye said. "I'm not settling for less, and that doesn't mean I'm going out there to swing for the fences. It means pin-point accuracy, and if I could be anything like Stipe was for Werdum, I'm going to either get it coming forward or she's going to get it coming in."