UFC flyweight Mariya Agapova was originally supposed to return to the cage this past July. The date she had booked with Yi Jeon Kim fell through when Agapova got hit with a knee injury. While she’s been away from the cage for a few months since that time, her knee is still not where she needs it to be heading into this weekend’s UFC Vegas 60.
“It’s bad and I still need surgery, so after my fight, I will do the surgery,” Agapova admitted. However, circumstances out of her control have limited the ability to get that surgery. “But my life situation is very bad right now. That’s why I can’t go to surgery before this fight.”
Those circumstances surround having the money for the surgery. Being out of the cage for an extended period of time means no paycheck for Agapova. Additionally, a deal with a sponsor that she thought would come through did not. To make matters even worse, Agapova tried to help out some people who were in tough situations and did not repay the favor.
“I got to this point because I helped a couple of losers, and I was thinking that I was helping them to be successful,” she shared. “I’ve become a loser because I tried to help losers.”
The resilient Agapova has not let that stop her from continuing on her journey. Instead Agapova has picked up a second job to support herself and is doing all of it with a injury.
“I’m working as a bouncer right now at a club,” Agapova said. “I’ve got bouncer work, working with my injury and I have to go fight with [the] injury.”
And while having a second job is never ideal for a UFC fighter, Agapova believes it is teaching her something as she goes.
“I got broke and I have to work all my camp as a bouncer,” she said. “These things will help me though because I feel that the regular person life, like you go into a regular job and earning the regular money – I’ll appreciate the money that I get from the UFC even more this time.”
Of course, Agapova wants that money to be even bigger than just the number she sees on the show line. Through adversity, Agapova believes in herself and knows she’ll be able to overcome it all and be better on the other side.
“I believe in myself and I believe I can win still,” she said. “I have to win. My life is f*cked up right now, I have to have surgery still, I don’t have sponsors, I have no idea how I’ll work if I can’t walk around – I better win this fight.”
She’ll look to get things back on the right track as part of UFC Vegas 60’s prelims. She fights Gillian Robertson on ESPN+ this Saturday.
You can hear the audio of this entire interview at 1:15.