With the influx of Bellator flyweights, no one has had a bigger jump in popularity than Emily Ducote.
The 5-2 fighter is coming off a win over Katy Collins back in March and will look to continue her run at Bellator 181 in Oklahoma this Friday on Spike TV.
It was suspected Ducote would be face Valerie Letourneau, but Letourneau has an undisclosed injury and is out. Jessica Middleton (2-1) will be stepping in.
The rise of Ducote saw her be the underdog in most of her fights, but has shown to defy the odds with three wins by submission in her Bellator stint.
Coming into Friday, she will most likely be the favorite over the less experienced Middleton. This will be the third straight time Ducote will be fighting in her home state. Being close to home is something that makes her comfortable and she doesn’t feel the pressure of having to impress her local fans and family.
“We don’t have to worry about flying in or rushing around.” Ducote expressed. “We are excited that my gym and family can go. It’s the most important part to have them come and watch.”
“Having my family there doesn’t effect me. I actually prefer to have my family there to watch, because they are a big part of how I got into MMA. I see it as a benefit for me to have them there and watch me.”
Ducote also told us she would like to travel a bit more to fight and fight as often as she can. She wasn’t opposed making the transition to Bellator’s kickboxing promotion just to stay busy.
Nothing much has changed in terms of Ducote’s camp in terms of her coaches. She did bring in training partners from Texas, which included Montana Stewart, Bellator vet Alice Yauger, and a lady who will be fighting on Saturday, Jihn Yu Frey.
“I have started training with them as an amateur. I haven’t trained with them in a few years. I will train at my gym in Oklahoma, and every once in a while, meet up with the girls in Texas and do sparing days to test what I am working on. Very top tier fighters. Great to be able to cross train with them.
Ducote isn’t looking ahead of Middleton, but stated she would like that rematch with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane eventually. The loss, she admits, has done more for her following than her wins.
“The response that I have gotten from fans have been amazing,” Ducote observed. “Even more so after I lost in December (to Macfarlne). It has been the most reaction I have gotten in my career. I lost. It was a tough fight. But to have fans comment and send me things and to see the effort and skill I have, that’s really nice to see in that situation. I didn’t expect that when I lost.”
Ducote expressed she is a few matches away from thinking about a title shot in the ever growing division, but a win here will solidify her in the rankings.
Emily Ducote versus Jessica Middleton will air on the Spike TV, kicking off the main card Friday night.