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LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 29: Jessamyn Duke (R) punches Laura Howarth in their elimination fight during filming of season eighteen of The Ultimate Fighter on May 29, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Powers/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
TRAINING: I train under Edmond Tarverdyan at Glendale Fight Club, where Ronda Rousey trains. My focus since moving has been boxing, wrestling, and 10th Planet Jiu-jitsu.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training when I was 19, and I had my first amateur MMA fight after four years of training. I trained just because I loved it for a long time, but once I realized that there were opportunities for women to compete in the sport that I loved, I decided to pursue it full-time as a career.
What ranks and titles have you held? Associate Instructor in the Thaiboxing Association of the USA and KY State Director, Purple Belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
Do you have any heroes? I look up to so many fighters and find inspiration in their stories and why they fight, but my mom is absolutely my hero and one of my biggest supporters. Because of her, I strive to become a better person to make her proud of how she raised me.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Fighting for the UFC means fighting at the pinnacle of my chosen sport. My goal has always been to become the best in the world, and that means fighting for the UFC, so to finally have this opportunity means everything to me. Fighting is my life. It's the number one priority in my world and it's the only thing I've ever been passionate about. The UFC is the greatest platform on the planet to compete in mixed martial arts in, and it fills me with pride to know that I finally get the chance to perform on that stage.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Yes, I graduated from EKU with a degree in Fitness and Wellness Management
What was your job before you started fighting? I worked lots of part-time jobs before I began to pursue fighting full-time. I did everything from work as a gas station attendant, wait tables, managed a liquor store, I was a loader for UPS, and eventually I started doing personal training, taught private lessons, and I even taught BJJ to preschoolers.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? World Muay Thai Association (WMA) Welterweight Champion, Tuff-N-Uff Featherweight Champion, AAMMA Featherweight Champion
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? Before TUF, all three of my professional fights were under the Invicta FC banner. I have always been proud that my professional debut and career began there and then ascended into the UFC.
Favorite grappling technique: Choke submissions are my favorites. Long arms and long legs make it easy to wrap up my opponent’s neck, and I specialize in a variety of chokes with unique set-ups and finishes.
Favorite striking technique: The clinch and the knees. However, I've recently developed a strong affinity for my left hook and I believe I can knock out anyone in the division with it if I land it solidly.