UFC women’s flyweight Sijara Eubanks knows she’s not popular with the fans.
Eubanks (3-2), a veteran of Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter, was expected to challenge Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant 125-pound title in the main event of UFC 230 next month inside Madison Square Garden. The booking was not met with much fanfare, as it meant Shevchenko was being pulled from her original bout against former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 in December.
Appearing on The MMA Hour, the 33-year-old Eubanks brushed off the MMA fan base’s unenthusiastic reaction to her briefly scheduled title fight at UFC 230.
“I didn’t care,” Eubanks told host Luke Thomas. “I knew people weren’t going to like it. MMA fans are spoiled. We’re in a day and age of the superfights are what sells. Not so much through the ladder and proving their thing. So I knew people weren’t going to like it. I went out there and antagonized peopled a little bit. It was the biggest opportunity of my career that point. How do you say no?
“So when people gave me a negative backlash, to me it was just setting up the most perfect Rocky moment. The underdog signs for a huge bout against this super dominant champion. No one thinks she’s going to win, everyone thinks she’ll get smashed and everyone hates it.”
Ultimately, the fan outcry cost Eubanks a shot at UFC gold, as fight officials decided to scrap her title fight altogether and re-book Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk on UFC 231.
“I think the biggest backlash was that we were just in the main event,” explained Eubanks. “I don’t think it was so much that I got the title fight. People were just mad we were in the main event and I didn’t care. I went on Twitter, I poked at a bunch of people and talked a bunch of shit, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. I’m here to accomplish my goals and achieve my dreams.”
But one voice Eubanks refuses to let go is that of UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, who was by far the most notable name to express his confusion over the booking.
“No offense but I don’t even know who Sijara Eubanks is and I’m the commentator for the UFC,” said Rogan upon learning that Eubanks had been tapped to headline the coveted event at Madison Square Garden.
With his words still fresh in her mind, Eubanks is looking forward to her inevitable post-fight interview with Rogan inside the Octagon.
“Joe’s going to know,” said Eubanks. “Joe knows who I am, he knows who I was before I said it. He didn’t have to say that on his blog. I thought it was disrespectful. So I’m not happy with Joe Rogan. He can’t avoid interviewing me. One day he’s going to find himself in the cage with me and a mic and I’m going to let him know exactly how I feel.”
Eubanks will instead face Roxanne Modafferi at the preliminary card UFC 230 in what is expected to be a title eliminator match.