In no small way, Canadian flyweight Jasmine Jasudavicus is partially responsible for the UFC returning to the Great White North next month.
The Niagara Top Team fighter took to the mic back in February, following a dominant decision win over Gabriella Fernandes, and called for the UFC to at long last make its return to her home country. Canada had not hosted a UFC event since 2019, a virtual travesty given it had regularly seen three shows a year prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
With teammate Mike Malott doing the same two fights on the card later, the wheels were set in motion. Social media picked up the rallying cry, and the promotion finally got a date booked, after considerable back-and-forth as to where (Edmonton, Montreal, or Vancouver) they’d actually end up.
Turns out, it’s Vancouver, the same city and venue (the Rogers Arena) the UFC touched down in last time they came to Canada. UFC 289 will play out there on June 10, 2023, with Jasudavicius booked against Miranda Maverick.
“I actually was surprised. I was calling for it, Mike was calling for it. Before the fight we didn’t talk about it or anything, and we both just called for it, and then it just kind of started happening,” Jasudavicious told Cageside Press recently, asked about the traction her campaign for a UFC card in Canada had gotten. “I didn’t really think that it was going to happen, because who actually thinks anything like that? But I’m super-excited and I think it’s going to build MMA within Canada.”
With the PFL forgoing Canada thus far and Bellator not having visited since 2015, Canadian MMA fans have had to make do with regional cards for nearly four years, often few and far between, and watching from afar. That’s about to change thanks to Jasudavicius — who hadn’t considered that she was the catalyst for the UFC’s return.
“I never really thought about it, but I guess so. I guess that’s true,” said Jasudavicius. “That’s an honor, I’m happy about that for sure.”
One thing that clearly has Jasmine Jasudavicius pumped is the prospect of fighting in front of fans — fans who will most certainly be behind her.
“There’s nothing like fighting in front of fans, and let alone in my home country, the fans are all going to be cheering for me. It’s going to be amazing, I can’t wait.”
And while some fighters might tune the crowd out, that’s not the case with Jasudavicius. “I feel like the crowd charges me. I can’t wait. Some people don’t like a crowd, but I feed off a crowd. I love a crowd.”
The response to the UFC’s return to Canada wasn’t the only thing that came as a bit of a shock to Jasudavicius. Following her win in February, Miranda Maverick took to social media to call out the Canadian flyweight, who isn’t currently ranked. A callout (and a respectful one at that) is one thing, but seeing the fight actually come together was an added bonus.
@JasJasudavicius you looked great tonight! Wanna dance soon? @Mickmaynard2 @ufc
— Miranda Maverick (@FearTheMAVERICK) February 26, 2023
“I was actually super surprised,” admitted Jasudavicius. “After the fight, I told my coaches ‘give me three days, I don’t want to think about fighting for a couple days. You guys talk about it and let me know in a couple days.'”
By the time she got to thinking about fighting again, Jasudavicious was chomping at the bit. And so she accepted the callout, not necessarily expecting the promotion to book the fight.
“I threw it out there thinking, ‘I don’t think they’re actually going to make the match or anything.’ But yeah, they made it, we both signed the contract, we’re both down to scrap, and it’s going to be a good one.”
The allure for Jasudavicious in part is the #15 that currently sits next to Maverick’s name. And the chance to break into the rankings herself.
“That’s a huge motivating factor. Like I said at the very start, when I first got in here, I’m here for a good time, not a long time. I want to hit it hard and go quick. For me to be able to break top 15 this year, it’s fantastic for me.”
Jasudavicius also confirmed she’s signed a new deal with the UFC, her second. “Another four fights, so that’s a really big milestone for me.”
Watch our full interview with UFC 289’s Jasmine Jasudavicius above. She’ll face Miranda Maverick on June 10, 2023 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.