As Jessica Aguilar gets set to defend her World Series of Fighting strawweight title on Nov. 15, the American Top Team Fighter has a bit of a confession to make.
Long considered one of the world's best 115 pounders, Aguilar is on the outside looking in while the division gets it's turn in the spotlight.
"I did feel like I missed out," Aguilar said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
But she immediately followed up by focusing on the outside.
"I'm still living my dream and I still have an opportunity here," Aguilar said.
Aguilar (18-4), who owns victories over the likes of Carla Esparza and Megumi Fujii, first earned national attention with Bellator. She then found herself a free agent after Bellator's then-CEO, Bjorn Rebney, decided to discontinue women's divisions in the company. WSOF reached out and made Aguilar their first women's signee. Two weeks later, the UFC announced it acquired Invicta's strawweight roster and would feature the division on a season of The Ultimate Fighter.
"I had been with Bellator before," Aguilar said. "I was very, not as active as I wanted to be. They gave me a great opportunity, they called me and said what do you want and it just worked out. I take every opportunity the same, so it worked for me, it made sense for me, and I signed with them. So two weeks later the UFC announced it."
WSOF's current plan is to have Aguilar defend her title against Kalindra Faria (15-3-1). While the company announced the bout, the XFC promotion claims it has Faria under an exclusive contract and it looking to block the fight.
For her part, Aguilar is proceeding as though the fight will take place.
"I was told by [WSOF matchmaker] Ali [Abdel-Aziz] that I was guaranteed that I will be fighting against Kalindra," Aguilar said. "So my fight will be against her. I'm going to be defending my title against Kalindra."
After getting off to a 4-3-1 start, Faria, a Sao Paulo native, has won 11 straight fights, with six of her past seven coming by way of a finish.
"She has a great record, she's fought some tough opponents, she's been around for awhile also," Aguilar said. "I think there's a lot of talent that isn't known as well. She's ranked, I just want to keep fighting the best, keep improving my skills, and just keep staying number one. It will be an exciting fight. She has a very extensive background in standup and she has a good ground game. I'm excited to challenge myself against her."
Aguilar has been keeping up with the current edition of TUF, which includes her teammate, Tecia Torres. She sees the season as a positive development for the division.
"I've been recording and watching as much as possible, said Aguilar, who stated she has two fights left on her WSOF deal. "I'm excited for these girls, I have a fellow ATT sister on there, Tecia Torres, it didn't go as well as she wanted it, but she's an amazing talent, very tough, just happy to see the growth of the sport and what is going on with my division. It's just really exciting."
"We're talking about UFC, the biggest promotion in the world," she continued. "It's a different platform than any other promotion, and that's just the truth, when you put those ladies on a show like that, they're going to get the exposure, they're going to get the respect they deserve. Like I said again, I'm just very excited for what's happening with my division, so just to to see them on the show and do what they do is a cool thing."
Aguilar understands how the fight business works, and maintains her confidence that in due time, she'll have her opportunity to tangle with many of the best at 115.
"Eventually the best in the world will fight each other," she said. "I just gotta keep focused, gotta keep on my path, and my path is doing what I do and continue with my training. The rest will come, you know?"