Former flyweight title challenger Jessica Eye last competed at UFC 245 where she picked up a unanimous decision win over Viviane Araujo. Eye did end up missing weight at UFC 245 and although the promotion was looking at adding her to the UFC Columbus card in late March, Eye decided to take time off and get her body healthy and recovered.
During an exclusive interview with BJPENN.com, Eye discussed her road back from elbow surgery and why she felt this was the right time to do so, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world.
When it comes to her elbow surgery, Eye said it was something she had tried to push off for as long as she could but when she moved to Las Vegas, she wanted to be able to take advantage of the UFC’s Performance Institute.
“I feel very rested and anxious to return.”
— Mike Pendleton (@MP2310) April 3, 2020
“My elbow surgery was something I felt I had been trying to push off for so long and one of my decisions to move to Las Vegas was for the UFC P.I. and all the medical knowledge they have and all things they can help me with for injuries.”
It was after her win at UFC 245 where Eye met with the P.I. and her team about surgery and ultimately decided to go through with it.
“After this last fight, my elbow, we’ve been managing it for a couple years with their knowledge and other treatment with other doctor friends of mine. After this fight we were like, ‘we’ve finally been able to tackle your back injury and your long-time back issues, let’s tackle this so that the next time we take on the champ, we’re fully healthy and ready, and we’re having healthy and happy training sessions.”
Now on the road to recovery from her surgery and getting her entire health to the place she’d like it to be, Jessica Eye says she feels that she’s in a good place with it all.
“I feel very rested and definitely anxious. You know going from having elbow surgery and then getting ready to get released and then going through what we’ve been going through with the pandemic and the Coronavirus, I got pushed back even more. I’m definitely anxious, I’m super excited to get back to work…I was actually offered Jojo (Joanne Calderwood) on the Columbus card, so had we not decided to do the elbow surgery and kept pushing it off, we would’ve been on the Columbus, Ohio card. Thankfully for that, I feel like the little selfish inner-voice in me is like ‘you know what Jessica thank God you chose to do surgery at this time.’ This is the best to be recovered and nothing is scheduled but on the other end of that, I don’t know when I’m going to be scheduled now due to all the cancellations.”
Because of the cancellations taking place across multiple UFC events, Eye doesn’t see herself returning to the Octagon until possibly later this summer.
“That would probably make my return to the Octagon probably not happen until July or August, and I don’t care when I fight, I’m not one of those people who say they can’t fight in the summer. I don’t mind fighting in the summer, winter, or where it is. Ideally I’d like to stay in the United States but, we go where we have to go.”
While she had her opportunity to for a world title come up short against Valentina Schevchenko at UFC 238, Jessica Eye pulled back the curtain on just what exactly she was going through physically leading up to that fight.
“That was something we were dealing with every day. It was up-and-down through the entire time of that camp. I’ve been debating on releasing some of that footage because some days my back would be fine, then I’d be like there’s a little something there but we’ll be okay. That’s how fight week went, fight week was probably the worst fight week I’ve ever had…You could see it in my performance [at UFC 238], if we broke it down, you could see how stiff my hips are compared to how I usually am with my movement and my head movement, I was moving my head and not my hips.”
Eye believes that at UFC 245 she not only showed just how good she could be when healthy, but she’s truly one of the very best in the women’s flyweight division, and there’s no secrets she needs to hide with her health.
“You got to finally see that change against Vivian, because let’s face it had she beaten me, she would’ve be next in line for that title shot against the whoever is the winner of this one. Against Vivian I showed why I’m still the best in this division when I’m healthy, I’m back on track and I’m not hiding injuries, there’s really no secret. I feel like all my injury secrets are out of there.”
Healthy, recovered, anxious, and focused to get back where she was at the top of the division, Jessica Eye feels she’s where she needs to be physically and being in that place can only lead her back to another title opportunity if she continues to produce wins like she did at UFC 245.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/3/2020