DWCS

Aaron Jeffery On DWCS Redemption

Aaron Jeffery On Dana White’s Contender Series Redemption

By Andy Cotterill

If you ask most people to describe the Ultimate Fighting Championship, they’ll likely tell you that it’s an organization that promotes the sport of mixed martial arts.

They’d be correct, of course, but it’s much more than that.


Amongst a growing number of competing global promotions, the UFC is still the place where fighters from across the globe aspire to ply their trade. They could conceivably make more money elsewhere, but that doesn’t matter…the UFC has the cachet, and it’s where most fighters want to be.

The UFC is where dreams can be made and dreams can be crushed, and both are seen live in vivid colour every single fight night. In the days following, many compelling stories emerge from both winning and losing sides.

But perhaps the most compelling of all are the stories of redemption.


Just over two years ago Canadian Middleweight Aaron Jeffery (10-2) lost his fight against Brendan Allen in UFC President Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) Season 3, and this Tuesday night in Season 5, he’s getting a second chance to make it into the world’s premiere MMA organization when he faces 8-1 Brazillian Caio Borralho.


Not every fighter gets called back to try again, in fact, it’s a rarity.


But since that loss in the year that the Covid-19 virus emerged Jeffery has won all 4 of his fights, 3 via TKO, and it’s just a bonus that the man who beat him is currently on a tear in the UFC proper.


Jeffery knows that this is a make-or-break opportunity for him, but remains pragmatic in his perspective about the possibility of another loss.


“I bounce back and forth between these two trains of thought.” Jeffery told MM-eh from his Air BNB in Las Vegas, where he and his girlfriend have been staying for 3 months while he trains at Syndicate MMA.


“My one thought is like maybe I have to consider another career, I’m pushing 30 and two losses in the Contender Series is bad and I’m probably not going to get signed, my life’s over. My other thought is like, does it really matter that much if I lose this fight? I’m in the same situation I’m in now, I’m still not in the UFC, I have one more fight on my record, and I just made a few thousand dollars to fight. I had some eyes on me and probably will get some attention even if I lose, so you can look at it either way.”


Some may read those words and think that it’s not what an athlete should be thinking, or especially saying out loud. But those are the people who repeat phrases like “Losing is not an option” as if that will better their chance at victory. Losing is always an option. It happens to all of us, in some small way, all of the time. Ignoring it doesn’t make th

e possibility go away.
Once you embrace the fact that losing is there, you can start to take the steps necessary to prevent it.


That’s just what Jeffery did all of those months ago when he made the trek with his Niagara Top Team (NTT) teammates down to Vegas, where they embedded themselves into the tightknit training group at Syndicate MMA.


This effort paid off in a big way for Jeffery’s teammate Jasmine Jasudavicius, who dominated her DWCS opponent two weeks ago, and had UFC President Dana White positively gushing over her gameness.


While Jeffery has always been known as a hard worker, his time at Syndicate has been a boon to his confidence in several ways.


“I’m the most experienced guy back home and I’m the bigger guy in the gym, right, so I don’t have a ton of hard rounds, so coming here and getting rounds with Sean, like I know on sparring day it’s going to be a war and I get that fight feel and I get some anxiety before sparring and it kind of like brings the fight out of you, so I think I needed to have that again in my training.”


The Sean he refers to is Sean Strickland, the 7th ranked UFC Middleweight who recently defeated Uriah Hall and is slated to face Luke Rockhold at UFC 268, where a win would most certainly place his name in conversation as a future championship contender.


Jeffery’s time in the cage with Strickland and TUF veteran John Poppie must have made a good impression, as Syndicate MMA Owner and Head Coach John Wood will be cornering him on Tuesday along with Jeffery’s NTT coach Chris Prickett.


For such a night you’d think that Jeffery would be amped up, or perhaps worried, but surprisingly he says that’s not the case.


“Honestly, I’m a pretty even-keeled guy. I feel the same going in to all of my fights. Every fight of your career is the biggest fight of your career, so it kinda all feels the same. It’s comforting to know that I’ve done all the work I’ve done and I’ve controlled everything I can.”

Jasmine Jasudavicius Ready To Make A Splash On DWCS

NIAGARA TOP TEAM’S JASMINE JASUDAVICIUS READY TO MAKE A SPLASH ON DANA WHITE’S CONTENDER SERIES

By Andy Cotterill

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ― Aristotle

An internet search for motivational quotes about opportunity will yield millions of results, and for some, these words can help guide them toward some form of excellence.

But for Niagara fighter Jasmine Jasudavicius, excellence is already a long time habit, and in a few short days she plans to stand in front of the mixed martial arts world and scream her name at the top of her lungs and dare them all to not recognize her as someone to pay close attention to.

On Tuesday September 14th Jasudavicius faces Brazilian Julia Polastri on Season 5 of Dana White’s Contender Series in a Flyweight (125 lbs) match that will likely award the winner a coveted position on the roster of the world’s pre-eminent mixed martial arts organization – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

A founding member of Niagara Top Team and one of Canada’s hottest prospects, Jasudavicius will be pitting her combined 9-1 amateur and professional record against Polastri’s 8-2, so at first glance this seems to be a very fair match up.

But a fighter’s life in these days of Covid is anything but fair. Neither social distancing nor the wearing of masks are very conducive toward the kind of up close and personal training with multiple partners needed to conduct a proper fight camp, especially one that has such high stakes.

In normal times Niagara Top Team is a hot bed of sizzling Canadian MMA talent that gave Jasudavicius every ounce of training opportunity possible, but the stringent Canadian Covid restrictions for gyms severely restricted her ability to maintain both the quantity and quality of training to which she was accustomed.

So it was decided that Jasudavicius and about a half dozen of her NTT teammates, including main training partner Teshay Gouthro, would make the trek to Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas to start her preparation for the biggest fight of her career so far. The team enjoyed a week or so of great training then returned home. But when the UFC scheduled her to return to Vegas 6 weeks before fight night to conduct a day or two of promotional video shoots, she realized that returning to Canada again after that would force her to quarantine, and at that point she could just not afford to waste any time not training as fully as she could.

So she’s been in Vegas since then.

In the gym.

Every day.

Training.

Training with other UFC fighters in their own fight camps like Ji Yeon Kim and Emily Whitmire.

Training with other UFC veterans like Joanne Calderwood and Roxanne Modafferi.

Training with Holly Holmes’ next opponent Norma Dumont, who Jasudavicius says she loved training with despite the size difference.

For Jasmine Jasudavicius the training is now over, and all that’s left for her to do is the final act. The act that is a part of her habit. The act of stepping into a cage and staring into the eyes of someone who is ready to do to her what she’s been preparing to do to them.

The act of standing with her arm raised.

She’s ready.