Finally injury free, Contender Series’s Jamie Colleen believes it is finally her time to shine
Entering her fight on season 1 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last year, strawweight fighter Jamie Colleen (4-1) wasn’t expecting a UFC contract. Coming off ACL reconstruction, the Pennsylvania native re-injured her knee in the first round. It was a back-and-forth battle against opponent Tiffany Masters, but Colleen was able to pick up the victory via third round submission.
“To be completely honest with you, I was hoping for the contract, but I wasn’t really expecting it,” said Colleen in an interview with MMA Today. “Although I know my win was a nail biter and a great fight, aside from that, I didn’t get to perform. I didn’t put on the type of performance I wanted to because I was injured.”
“It was a great experience and I’m definitely grateful for that,” continued Colleen. “To be able to be on the big stage is awesome. You know, it was kind of bitter sweet for me.”
It’s probably a good thing Colleen didn’t get her hopes up. Despite competing in one of the most entertaining fights of the season, and winning, the UFC brass didn’t grant Colleen a promotional contract.
One year later, Colleen is once again set to compete on the Contender Series. Unlike other fighters returning in season 2 for a second opportunity to earn a contract, Colleen hasn’t competed since season 1. Time off due to injury, paired with the rigorous physical therapy program that followed, left Colleen unable to compete until February of this year. Entering her name back into the pool, the UFC instantly offered Colleen another shot.
“It was all in good timing,” said Colleen. “It definitely wasn’t planned, taking a year off, but I wanted to go about it the right way. I was offered some more fights during that time, but I really wanted to take the time to make sure I was taking care of myself, so I could be 100% going into my next fight.”
On Tuesday night, Colleen will be headlining episode five of the sophomore season of the UFC Fight Pass original series. Standing in her way will be 20-year-old red hot prospect Maycee Barber (4-0). Colleen believes the undefeated strawweight is a tough test, but isn’t buying into the hype of her being unbeatable.
“From what’ I’ve seen, she’s definitely tough,” said Colleen. “I’m not putting anything past her, not underestimating her. From what I’ve seen, she isn’t quite seasoned yet.”
“She has a pretty good winning record,” furthered Colleen. “Nothing against her opponents (I have respect for all fighters), but I don’t think she’s really fought any quality opponents — no one that’s really been in front of her face, making her fight. She’s never fought anyone like me before, so I know it’s going to be a good fight win, lose, or draw. I’m looking forward to that.”
“She has a lot of ambition from what I’ve heard,” continued Colleen. “She wants to be the youngest UFC champ which is great, but she should focus on what’s in front of her. She’s got to get through me first.”
Unlike the first time around, Colleen believes her camp couldn’t have gone better. Physically and mentally stronger than ever, the 32-year-old doesn’t see this fight going to the judges’ scorecards.
“I didn’t get to do much strength training or anything like that [for the last camp],” explained the mother of one. “But this camp, once I got full clearance, I’ve been going at it like a monster. My training partners have been amazing, and of course, my coaches. I couldn’t ask for a better camp.”
“It’s going to be a dog fight, and it’s not going to be pretty,” added Colleen when speaking about the fight. “I’m going to be in her face and force her to fight my fight. It’s going to be a good show. I’m a finisher and I’m known as a finisher, whether it’s striking or like in my last fight where I finished with a submission. It’s kill or be killed. Either way I don’t see it going to the decision.”
Also deviating from his introductory experience on the Contender Series, Colleen is expecting a contract this time around.
“I’m at my absolute best — damn near 100%,” asserted Colleen. “I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I’ve grown since my last fight. I feel like it’s definitely my time. Now that I’m injury free, I believe it is my time to shine. What do I have to lose? I’m going to dive in head first and put on the best show that I can and hope for the best.”
“Thank you to my coaches and my teammates for pushing me every day. Thank you to my friends and family, especially my daughter — she’s my number one fan and the best supporter I could ask for. She’s amazing.” – Jamie
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