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Ex-champ Jessica Aguilar granted release from WSOF, sets sights on UFC gold


One of the best female strawweights in the world is now a free agent. World Series of Fighting's inaugural 115-pound champion, Jessica Aguilar, announced Monday on The MMA Hour that WSOF has granted her a release from her promotional contract and she now intends to sign with the UFC to "consolidate" her "number-one ranking."

"I haven't fought in two months, and I think my next step is to be the UFC champion. I've decided to become the next UFC champion," Aguilar said.

"The UFC wasn't allowed to talk to me while I was under contract with WSOF, so I've solved that issue for them. I'm a free agent."

Aguilar (19-4) has long been considered one of the top female strawweights in the world. Over the course of a decade-long career, the 33-year-old has posted victories over a slew of notable names within the division, punctuated by a pair of wins over the legendary Megumi Fujii and a split decision over former UFC champion Carla Esparza.

At the time of her signing with WSOF in late-2013, Aguilar was widely considered to be the No. 1 ranked strawweight in the world. She became the promotion's 115-pound champion in short order, defeating Alida Gray via first-round submission at WSOF 8, then defended her title twice, outpointing both Emi Fujino and Kalindra Faria.

Though despite her unblemished streak, Aguilar saw her stranglehold on the division's top spot begin to slip during her WSOF tenure. Just weeks after news broke of Aguilar's WSOF signing, the UFC announced a mass acquisition of Invicta FC's stacked strawweight division, leaving Aguilar to fight largely unheralded opposition in WSOF while the majority of the weight classes brightest stars vied for UFC gold.

"WSOF was amazing," Aguilar said. "I asked them what I wanted and they granted me release to do whatever I wanted to do. Obviously my goal is to be the number-one in my weight class, and that's in the UFC. So if I have to do that, that's my move. I want to just continue proving I am the best and challenge myself against those ladies and amazing athletes there. So I'm excited, man. I'm excited, I'm ready to have some fun and defend what's mine."

Aguilar added that her free agency officially went into effect Monday. At the time of her interview, she had not yet been contacted by the UFC, though she believes it's simply a matter of time before terms will be reached.

Aguilar will already have a rivalry waiting for her if and when she joins the Zuffa fold, as the feud between she and Esparza reached new heights last week when Esparza outright accused Aguilar of PED use.

Aguilar said she would gladly welcome a rematch against Esparza for her UFC debut, but if the choice was given to her, she'd prefer to challenge for the belt and fight the winner of June 20's Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Penne title bout instead.

"My goal is become the UFC champion," Aguilar said. "Carla is old news.

"Right now I just want to prove once again why I'm the number-one ranked fighter in my weight class. I want to have some fun. Now the ball is in Dana (White)'s court."

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