Sunday, September 2, 2012
Jessica Branco Interview
Photo 2: Eric Gaudreault
Coming from the highly regarded American Top Team, Jessica Branco is set to be making her amateur MMA debut soon. After seeing the Ultimate Fighter on television, she became interested in MMA and after a few "street fights" she decided it was time to get into MMA herself. With some talented training partners like Tecia Torres and India Gomes, Jessica is confident there is nothing her opponent can do that she has not seen often in the gym training.
Q: Can you talk about how you got interested in training for the sport?
A: I started getting interested when the Ultimate Fighter started. I watched season one with my dad at night. I was working and going out and partying and getting involved in some street fights and discovered I really liked it. I started doing Jiu-Jitsu and got into it.
Q: Do any of your family or friends worry about you fighting and not wanting to see you getting hit in the face?
A: Yeah, I had a lot of people try to hold me back. They don't want me to fight because you get punched in the face. I don't think my parents will come watch me fight ever haha. It's o.k., you get used to it haha.
Q: How did you know you were actually ready to fight?
A: There were two fights I was supposed to do. The first one I got injured and the second I backed out because I didn't feel ready. I feel like I had a lot to learn and have a new coach and new gym. You have to get used to different peoples styles. Now I know I am ready, it will be a good experience. I feel good in every aspect of fighting.
Q: You don't know your opponents name yet, does it bother you to not know anything about who you are fighting yet?
A: Not, it doesn't bother me. Obviously I wouldn't take a fight if the girl had a lot of fights or a lot of experience. I am gonna go out there and I am happy I can test my skills and everything I have learned. I am gonna do my fight and do the fight the way I want it to be. So it doesn't matter to me.
Q: Coming from such a big name gym, is there any pressure for you to sort of live up to that and what others have done from there?
A: I wouldn't say pressure. I think I see it more as motivation. I can train with people that made it to the top and really good up and coming fighters who aren't known but are really good. It is more motivation for me. It means maybe one day I will be there.
Q: Does finally getting to fight make you feel like more of a part of the team or did you already feel that way?
A: I am still new at that gym. I have been there two months. I feel like I am part of a family with the people I train with. Yeah, I guess in a way, but at the same time, I have good people around me, so I am gonna stay strong.
Q: You get to train with some really good people, does that make you feel more confident knowing that whoever you fight, the odds are they wont be as good as the people you train with every day?
A: Yeah, that is true. Every time I spar, they are so good and they beat me up haha. I get out of there and am tired and I go home, and if I survive that, for sure I will survive the fight haha. She will never be as good as the girls are, and they have experience that she will not have.
Q: I assume now you are excited, but on fight day do you expect to be a little nervous?
A: I have no idea. I have been competing my whole life and am not the kind of person that gets nervous in tournaments or competitions. It is the first time I am gonna fight with striking, so it will be the first time I get hit in the face with the small gloves by someone who wants to hurt me really bad. So, I don't know, I am trying to not think about it and do the best I can do.
Q: Having those experienced teammates, have they given you and advice on how to deal with things you may not be prepared for?
A: Yeah, I ask them a lot of questions. They always try and make me comfortable and to not under estimate and at the same time not to expect too much. They talk and try and calm me down.
Q: After this fight, how active would you like to be?
A: I hope I can do three amateur fights before the end of the year. I would like to fight a lot. I want to also go to the World's in No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu. I want to turn pro kind of fast, but I still want to get experience. Every three or four months if I can.
Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and try and learn from?
A: I am a big fan of B.J. Penn. He is a Jiu-Jitsu guy and is flexible. I think it is good because girls are more flexible. There are a couple guys at the gym to who have my body type, they are tall and not skinny, but for their weight class, tall and skinny like me. I like to watch them and pick up things. There style against shorter fighters, because I will probably fight people shorter than me to.
Q: Five years from now where do you see yourself?
A: I hope to be still fighting, as a job obviously haha. I would like to get involved in maybe commentating or something like that.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I would like to thank my coach Bob DeLuca, he is always there and supports me in and out of the gym. India (Gomes) and Tecia (Torres) for training with me all the time. Everyone at the gym who works with me and supports me, it motivates me to watch them. Also Felipe Loborio, I work with him a lot and he helps me with my wrestling.