Women’s bantamweight Sijara Eubanks had all of an hour to figure out who would accompany her to Fight Island this week. In fact, she got the phone call from her manager the night before, telling her that she had a fight against Ketlen Vieira lined up for UFC 253.
“I was like ‘alright, cool, when do we leave?'” recalled Eubanks, speaking at this week’s UFC 253 virtual media day. “In the morning” was the reply. Which gave an hour to get things together. Taking the fight, however, was all about keeping the momentum going.
“I’ve always asked to keep the momentum going. Going into the Sarah Moras fight, I told my manager ‘right after this, I want to fight again no matter what happens,'” noted Eubanks. At the same time, she knew that “in order to get the frequency I wanted, I had to start winning these fights. So that’s what I’ve been doing, I’ve been putting up these Ws.”
“My two losses in the bantamweight division were close,” Eubanks added when asked about her recent change of fortune. “I knew it was just tiny little adjustments I had to make. They were really close, I think closer fights than maybe the scorecards show. So it was more of an attitude adjustment.”
Eubanks also noted that she performs better under adversity — and 2020 is definitely the year for that. “It’s a pandemic, there’s a lot of crazy things going on in the world.” Rather than just sitting out a terrible year, Eubanks took a bad year as an opportunity.
Coming off two straight wins in the 135lb weight class, Eubanks is finally knocking on the door of contendership. At least, a win over Vieira should put her there, “Sarj” believes.
“Heck yeah it does. When a 13 comes in and beats a 6 on 7 days notice, if that doesn’t get you some attention, if that doesn’t get you close, I don’t know what does,” she exclaimed, looking at the UFC’s official rankings. Her goal, said Eubanks, is to climb the ladder up the division. “If it’s one rung at a time, or four rungs at a time, I’mma climb it. A win over Ketlen definitely puts me top ten, top five even. That depends, but it definitely puts me in title contention.”
She also knows that the women’s bantamweight division is wide open. “It’s getting wider as Amanda moves back up to 45,” Eubanks observed. With that in mind, she added, “the division is up for grabs right now.”
Watch the full UFC 253 virtual media day interview with Sijara Eubanks above.