Jodie Esquibel: Boxer turned mixed martial artist will make her UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 118

Invicta has a great pool of talent and other promotions are reaping the benefits from signing these fighters. Jodie is a great addition to a stacked division.

UFC Fight Night 118 has shaped up to be a great card as the UFC makes only its second trip to Poland. The Polish MMA scene has grown at a rapid pace and is getting noticed worldwide. UFC Fight Night 118 will also have several fighters stepping into the UFC octagon for the first time, and of those, the heavy-handed Jodie Esquibel is one of them. 

The 31-year-old Albuquerque New Mexico native, representing the infamous Jackson-Wink MMA, is a workhorse in the cage. Her 6-2 professional record at strawweight is impressive. Six of her fights have been with Invicta, a great fight promotion showcasing some of the best talents in women’s MMA the world over. Jodie dropped only one fight in Invicta, and now she’s ready for the UFC.

UFC Fight Night 118 is a great opportunity for her to showcase her skills to the world, on an international stage. The Fight Night series opens the UFC to a large audience considering it comes without the price of pay-per-view admission, and anytime the UFC leaves the states, the buzz and excitement is hard to ignore.

Her 15 fight boxing background is something she carries with her in the cage. She has heavy hands, with beautiful form. Her right hand is thrown with a deadly accuracy, and she brings it from way back. When that connects her opponent is in trouble, it can and will change the tone of a fight. She stands like a boxer, arms tight to the body, and she’s translated to MMA without issue. As the current 43rd ranked best women’s strawweight in the world, she will need those heavy hands to climb up the ranks, especially in the UFC.

Esquibel is a fighter who’s easy to get lost in the shake-up. She isn’t flashy, doesn’t come with baggage, and isn’t a name that’s been thrown around a lot. UFC has arguably the most stacked women’s strawweight division in MMA today, so it’s easy to see why fighters like Jodie will be missed. But make no mistake, this is a solid signing by the UFC and a great opportunity for her.

A breakdown of her record shows she is definitely battle tested. She has gone the distance the majority of her career and has been busy since turning pro in MMA in 2011.

Jodie Esquibel's record

Event and opponentResult
Jackson's MMA series 4 - 09 April 2011 - Brittany Horton
Win - TKO (Headkick and punches) Round 1
Jackson's MMA series 7 - 12 January 2012 - Amy Riehle
Win - Unanimous decision
Invicta FC 4 - 05 January 2013 - Liz McCarthy
Win - Split decision
Invicta FC 5 - 05 April 2013 - Alex Chambers
Loss - Submission (Rear naked choke) Round 1
Invicta FC 8 - 06 September 2014 - Jinh Yu Frey
Win - Split decision
Invicta FC 9 - 01 November 2014 - Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc
Win - Unanimous decision

Invicta FC 19 - 29 July 2016 - Alexa Grasso
Loss - Unanimous decision

Invicta FC 22 - 25 March 2017 - DeAnna Bennett
Win - Split decision

After her war with Alexa Grasso, in which they were the main event, she needed a victory, and she got it. Momentum is huge in all sports, but in a sport where it's a contest between two individuals, it's even more so. She should feel good about going into the UFC, she has a good record and can go the distance. Fighters who are known for being "knockout artists" focus on that knockout and train with that mindset, whereas fighters who are used to going the distance train to be in it for the long haul, and that could be what gives her an edge going into the UFC. 

Jodie Esquibel from the ring to the cage

Jodie began her boxing career in 2005 and she had a consistent career in the squared circle. Going 7-7-1, she had a lot of ups and downs. Between 2011 and 2015 she was going back and forth between boxing and MMA. The decision was made in 2015 to stick with MMA.

She took her career to the next level in MMA by competing on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. She was defeated by Ashley Yoder via split decision in the qualifying fight. It was a tough fight, but it didn't stop Jodie. She kept working, kept fighting, and now she is on a highly talked about UFC Fight Night card. 

Jodie is dominant in the ring and in the cage. There's nothing like stepping in the octagon, she's had a taste of it from the Ultimate Fighter, which helped reiterate an important mantra for fighters, never leave it in the hands of the judges. Although, MMA judges put a lot of weight in the fighter that is busy, does more damage, and owns the positioning in the octagon, and that's something Jodie has going for her. She is a dominant presence in the cage and doesn't give up ground as much as she takes. 

Jodie's stance and movements are attributes that set her apart. Boxers have exaggerated head movements, and they stand with their arms tight to their bodies. A lot of MMA fighters are a little looser and stand more square to their opponent. Jodie looks like a boxer but fights like an MMA fighter. Her punches are thrown with a deadly accuracy and she keeps them coming. She fights to her strengths and sets herself up to fight her game plan. She has all the tools to be successful in the UFC. Jodie has a great opportunity here, and she won't let it go to waste. 

UFC Fight Night 118 will be a great event. What debut are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments

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