Irene Aldana hasn’t quite had the UFC career many were expecting.
The Mexican fighter, who was picked up from Invicta FC and signed to the UFC last November, currently finds herself winless inside the Octagon. Aldana suffered a unanimous decision loss in her promotional debut against Leslie Smith, which won ‘Fight of the Night’ honors, and most recently dropped a controversial split-decision to Katlyn Chookagian last month at UFC 210.
Aldana recalls feeling shocked after hearing that the judges at UFC 210 scored the bout for Chookagian. The Lobo Gym fighter believes she did enough to win the contest according to the updated Unified Rules of MMA, which were implemented that night in Buffalo, N.Y.
“I analyzed it, and it was a very good fight, but I believe I won that,” Aldana told MMA Fighting. “I know it was a competitive bout, but I thought I won. Many of her strikes were hitting air. When we were in the back warming up before the fight, the referee [Todd Anderson] came up to us and explained the rules to us. When he explained the rules, he said that damage and the effectiveness of the strikes were going to count more than the striking volume.
“So after he said that, we went by that, and that’s why I didn’t focus on throwing too many strikes. I focused more on actually connecting them. I saw myself fighting more offensive, moving forward more, putting the pressure, and connecting the better shots of the fight. So yeah, it was very disappointing, but things happen. I’m someone that doesn't like to leave it in the hands of the judges. I’m someone that likes to finish fights, and that was my intention in this bout, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get it done. It’s one more experience in the books, one more lesson learned, and next time, I’lll try my hardest to not leave it in the hands of the judges.”
Following the bout with Chookagian, Dana White, Sean Shelby and Bruce Buffer came up to Aldana to congratulate her performance, giving her confidence that she would be getting a third fight in the UFC. Aldana, who's considered one of the best female prospects to come out of Latin America, is certainly not happy with the way things have gone in her UFC run, but she is proud to have given fans exciting fights in both of her performances.
“I’m a little sad with the way things have turned out,” Aldana explained. “But I’m not disappointed with my performances because I know that in both fights, I’ve given my best and people have stood up from their seats to applaud and that says something about my work.
“I’ll never show up to give a mediocre performance or a boring fight. In a way, I’m winning a lot of experience. I think I’ve taken tough challenges, and I’ve managed to do a lot with the little experience I have. I’ve been fighting women that have 20 years of experience, so I think I’m on the right path and I’m taking these experiences as motivation. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I know that my career is at stake for my third fight, and I have to do a Rocky-like comeback to show that I belong in the UFC.”