Jessica Eye Signs With The UFC, May Face Sarah KaufmanFresh off of her release from Bellator, Jessica “Evil” Eye has signed on as the latest addition to the UFC women’s bantamweight roster. The popular Ohio native could next face former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman at UFC 166: “Velasquez vs dos Santos 3” on October 19th in Houston, Texas.

Eye’s UFC signing was initially reported by OHMMA and the fight against Kaufman was noted this evening during UFC Tonight on FOX Sports 2. A date and event were not announced for the planned Eye-Kaufman fight, but has learned that UFC 166 will likely play host to the bout.

Eye’s (10-1-0) road to the Octagon has not been an easy one, but the talented Strong Style Fight Team representative has battled through a number of serious injuries during her career to become one of the sport’s most promising female fighters. Currently riding a seven-fight winning streak that includes three victories for Bellator, Eye is widely regarded as a top-two competitor in the flyweight division. However, the cut to make 125 pounds has become difficult as Eye continues to develop her physical strength.

In June, Eye earned a close Unanimous Decision victory over Carina Damm at NAAFS: “Fight Night In The Flats 9.” The bout was contested at a catchweight of 130 pounds and Eye was happy to not have to shed the extra weight. When she received the call to compete for the UFC, Eye jumped at the opportunity, and while other flyweight fighters who have moved up to bantamweight have struggled in the UFC, Eye is not concerned and she believes that she will be even stronger in her new weight class.

“When I first got into MMA, there were no options for women. There were no organisations that had women [fighting],” Eye told today. “Even the guys were struggling to make it. So it’s really awesome to be able to feel like I’ve made it to this next step. I feel like it’s been a long time coming, and I’ve been in this sport for a long time and paid my dues.

“I never had any intent to leave Bellator,” she adds. “I never thought that I would be doing what I’m doing right now, signing to have a fight with the UFC. There have been some 125-pound females who have gone into the UFC and haven’t had a lot of success, so I’m sure I’m definitely going to get a lot of riff-raff on that about being a 125er coming up, like, ‘Oh, she’s not going to be big, fast, strong,’ or whatever. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for me at all because I cut so much weight to get down to 125. I can’t wait to be able to eat [during] the week of the fight.”

Eye believes that weight cuts do not determine a fighter’s skill once the cage door closes, and she is prepared to face all bantamweight challengers who stand in front of her.

“I’m a fighter. No matter which weight class I am in, I know how to fight,” Eye says. “I know what to do, I know that there are different body styles and I understand strength. I’m excited to embrace that now. I’m not out here picking on girls and creating unneeded conflicts with anybody. I want to fight because I enjoy fighting. Whichever organisation and weight class I’m in, I want to fight for the competition and for myself. I don’t have to hate [opponents] to perform.

“I’m not in a hurry and I haven’t been in a hurry to get to this point in my life where I have options to go to different organisations. I’m very lucky in those ways. I’m not out there like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get a title shot next year,’ or whatever. No, it will happen when it happens. I’m not going to force the subject. I’ve got to get acclimated with the UFC, feel it out and see where my path’s going to lead next.”

Should the planned bout materialise, Eye will not have an easy opponent for her UFC debut. Kaufman (16-2-0) has developed a wealth of experience while competing against many of MMA’s best female fighters during her seven-year pro career. Following an 8-0 run in Canada that included a title reign for Hardcore Championship Fighting, Kaufman debuted in Strikeforce and later became the promotion’s inaugural women’s bantamweight champion in February 2010.

Kaufman lost her Strikeforce belt to Marloes Coenen in her second title defence, but she has won four of her past five fights. Her lone defeat came at the hands of current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey this past August. Kaufman had expected to make her UFC debut later this month against Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night 27, but that bout was scrapped when McMann was forced to withdraw from the card. Kaufman may instead face Eye in a battle of UFC newcomers.

UFC 166: “Velasquez vs dos Santos 3” takes place on October 19th at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The event is headlined by a UFC Heavyweight Championship trilogy fight between champ Cain Velasquez and Junior “Cigano” dos Santos.



(Photo Credit: Bellator)

  1. Wow! This is AMAZING!

  2. Yes! A Kaufman-Eye matchup would be unbelievable, and I think would easily make the main card. Hopefully those watching would realize what a monstrous matchup this fight really is, coming at a time what TUF 18 will be making huge waves across the nation! It doesn’t get any better than this. Can’t wait.

  3. This is definitely main card material. It will be pure striking extravaganza, and both fighters are so skilled and powerful…

    Jessica is likely the strongest 125 lber and also likely the best striker in this division. It will be interesting to see how she stacks up against the 135 lb. top-tiers, strength and striking-wise. In this respect, Kaufman is a good test, as she is likely one of the top three strongest 135 lbers. (I suppose McMann is #1, and Kaufman and Ronda are tied in the 2nd spot).

    Jessica could easily become a star. She is very skilled, very beautiful and got a great personality. Good luck (just in case you are reading this)!

  4. It seems like the weight cut will now be much healthier for her. She is definitely the top 125 fighter in the world, but probably has outgrown the weight. She is not Gaff or Sexton. She could easily be a top 3 135 fighter like Zingano. UFC will make her a star.

  5. I just read that Kaufman vs. Eye is now official for UFC 166 on October 19th in Houston Texas!! It is listed as 3rd match of the night on, which would mean it somehow didn’t make the main PPV card ? Hopefully the fight will still air on the Prelims…If so, it will be seen on free TV nationally. Great exposure for two great fighters. It doesn’t get better than this 🙂