AUSTIN, Texas – Does MMA math apply to weight cutting? Because if it does, Julia Avila might be in for a big night Saturday.
Avila (9-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) returns from an absence of about 2.5 years when she closes out the preliminary card against former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (20-9 MMA, 6-6 UFC) at UFC on ESPN 52 at Moody Center in Austin, Texas.
Where the MMA math on the scale comes into play is fascinating, and perhaps it will be just a footnote. But for now, consider this: Tate, an all-time great and women’s MMA pioneer, recently attempted a move to flyweight. She said this week the toll it took to drop 10 more pounds from 135 to 125 was too much.
When Avila steps in the cage Saturday, she said it will by just about a year since she weighed 225 pounds after a knee surgery and, near the same time, her pregnancy with her first child. The drop to bantamweight means 90 pounds in roughly a year – a staggering number given that was a full 40 percent drop in weight.
“I went up to 225 pounds and I was huge,” Avila said at UFC on ESPN 52 media day Wednesday. “I lost almost 100 pounds. I’m going to be almost 100 pounds difference from this time last year, and I don’t think people realize.
“It was the effort and the struggle and the pain that I had to go through and my team had to go through and witness. But I would do it all over again if I needed to. I don’t need to, luckily. I’m not going to. I’m going to see this through and there’s going to be a title in my future. That’s the goal.”
Avila said she doesn’t expect anything new from Tate that she hasn’t seen elsewhere before. But she also will have to make sure to not get starstruck, given her high school room.
“She’s a former champion. She’s amazing. She’s done wonders for women’s MMA,” Avila said. “I remember there was a memory that popped up on my Facebook that she retired seven years ago and I’m like, all right, the bantam division’s open. I can come in. And that was seven years ago. And now I get to fight her.”
So it’s, uh, it’s kind of cool how like, Manifesting and everything’s coming around. Is there a part of you that when you look at a fight like this, you can sort of imagine yourself maybe 20 years in the future and you look back at your resume of women you fought and you’d be like, wow, to have Misha Tate’s name on there next to a W for me, would that be extra exciting for you?
Is that something that you ever think about? That is, um, I mean that, That’s great. I, I’m gonna love that, but I, I already have, my resume is actually pretty good already. I’ve beat a lot of people in their prime. I beat the former champion Nico Montano, um, before she became the champion. Uh, she actually dropped down a division.
Actually, the majority of the people that I’ve fought have changed divisions after me. So, uh, I mean, I’d like to think that, but I don’t know, maybe I’m just making up stories in my head, but. Every win is great for me, and having a win over Misha Tate, I think, would just solidify how good I actually am and can be.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 52.