Last Vegas, NV — “The Raging Panda” finally made her sophomore outing inside the octagon at UFC on ESPN 10. A fight that saw Julia Avila take out Gina Mazany in all of 22 seconds. Overwhelming her opponent right out of the gate, Avila reminded the women’s bantamweight division that she is one to watch.
“I’ve been on cloud nine since I got here,” Avila told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “There’s just so much animosity and so much anger and hate going on in the world, that I just wanted to offer some sort of reprieve for fifteen minutes. But [I’ll] take 22 seconds.”
Avila (8-1) has had a heck of a time getting back in the octagon over the past year. The now 32-year old made her octagon debut in July 2019, beating Pannie Kianzad. She’d been trying to book her second outing ever since.
“I just try to be a ray of sunshine. I always have a positive mentality. When my first fight fell through, I just ate a bunch of chicken wings, and I’m like ‘alright let’s get ready for the next one.'” When the next one fell through, it was running a marathon that took her mind off things. Then a third fight tanked, and a strength training competition was her distraction. “I just try to keep going and better myself. That’s all we can do.”
What’s next is the question after any victory. But such a dominant performance by a prospect in a wide open division makes it extra pressing. Asked if she’d like to fast track to a title shot, however, Avila pumped the brakes. “It is very early in my career. I’m only 8-1 now. I only have nine professional fights under my belt.So I have a lot of growing to do. I have a lot of learning to do. And I want to earn my stripes to get that title fight,” she stated.
“I don’t want to go and ask for a title shot immediately. I want to beat the right people, I want to grow as an athlete,” Avila addded. “And once I do and earn that title, I want to keep it.”
Her goal, Avila stated, is to get a few more fights this year, and earn a title shot by the end of 2020, or at least sometime in 2021.
Hopefully, things will go smoother than with her first two fights. While Avila has been impressive in the cage, she seems to have a bit of a dark cloud following her around. Her first fight came when earthquakes hit in advance of UFC 239. The geologist by day was in a unique position to offer advice at the time. This time out, of course, it’s the coronavirus pandemic throwing a wrench in the works.
“Oh lord. It’s a lot. There’s always something going on,” Avila told us when asked about the circumstances surrounding her first two UFC fights. “I’ve always just been trying to be just a ray of sunshine, and just happy.”
“Last time when there was the earthquakes, I gave tips on how to be safe around everything that was going on. With COVID, I’m saying ‘stay clean but fight filthy,'” she noted. “I’m just trying to promote and be a good role model, and just do good by everyone.”
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 10 post-fight press conference with Julia Avila above!