By Andy Cotterill
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ― Aristotle
An internet search for motivational quotes about opportunity will yield millions of results, and for some, these words can help guide them toward some form of excellence.
But for Niagara fighter Jasmine Jasudavicius, excellence is already a long time habit, and in a few short days she plans to stand in front of the mixed martial arts world and scream her name at the top of her lungs and dare them all to not recognize her as someone to pay close attention to.
On Tuesday September 14th Jasudavicius faces Brazilian Julia Polastri on Season 5 of Dana White’s Contender Series in a Flyweight (125 lbs) match that will likely award the winner a coveted position on the roster of the world’s pre-eminent mixed martial arts organization – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
A founding member of Niagara Top Team and one of Canada’s hottest prospects, Jasudavicius will be pitting her combined 9-1 amateur and professional record against Polastri’s 8-2, so at first glance this seems to be a very fair match up.
But a fighter’s life in these days of Covid is anything but fair. Neither social distancing nor the wearing of masks are very conducive toward the kind of up close and personal training with multiple partners needed to conduct a proper fight camp, especially one that has such high stakes.
In normal times Niagara Top Team is a hot bed of sizzling Canadian MMA talent that gave Jasudavicius every ounce of training opportunity possible, but the stringent Canadian Covid restrictions for gyms severely restricted her ability to maintain both the quantity and quality of training to which she was accustomed.
So it was decided that Jasudavicius and about a half dozen of her NTT teammates, including main training partner Teshay Gouthro, would make the trek to Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas to start her preparation for the biggest fight of her career so far. The team enjoyed a week or so of great training then returned home. But when the UFC scheduled her to return to Vegas 6 weeks before fight night to conduct a day or two of promotional video shoots, she realized that returning to Canada again after that would force her to quarantine, and at that point she could just not afford to waste any time not training as fully as she could.
So she’s been in Vegas since then.
In the gym.
Training with other UFC fighters in their own fight camps like Ji Yeon Kim and Emily Whitmire.
Training with other UFC veterans like Joanne Calderwood and Roxanne Modafferi.
Training with Holly Holmes’ next opponent Norma Dumont, who Jasudavicius says she loved training with despite the size difference.
For Jasmine Jasudavicius the training is now over, and all that’s left for her to do is the final act. The act that is a part of her habit. The act of stepping into a cage and staring into the eyes of someone who is ready to do to her what she’s been preparing to do to them.
The act of standing with her arm raised.