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Jessamyn Duke: Learning as an Amateur

Jessamyn DukeThe 145 pound amateur standout is hoping to learn and approve in her match this weekend.

When Jessamyn Duke hit the scene last year, she had some great credentials behind her. Having trained in both kickboxing and jiu-jitsu for five years, Duke came in with an impressive win in her debut with a ground and pound win last year at the “Absolute Action MMA: Battle Against Breast” cancer event.

Duke had faced a solid in wrestler in Ashlee Evans-Smith in the Tuff-n-uff 145 tournament January in Vegas, giving Duke her biggest test so far, and Smith would get a unanimous decision.

Duke faces another wrestler in Sarah Cook at the Absolute Action MMA 145 anniversary show this weekend in Florence, KY. If she wins, she will gain her first title as an amateur.

Duke took some time to talk to Fightergirls about her upcoming match and her learning curve as an amateur fighter.

Fightergirls: Did you learn a lot in your last match?

Jessamyn Duke: I always make sure that none of my losses are in vain. Rather than make excuses about why it happened, I go back to the gym and evaluate myself and work on improving my game. I know that I am not the perfect fighter, far from it, and I am taking advantage now while I’m an amateur to fill in the holes in my game rather than trying to play catch up once I go pro. In my last fight, I learned that I wasn’t quite big enough to be as competitive as I would like to be in the 145lb weight division. I was out-muscled with brute strength in my last fight and I swore that would never happen again.

Fightergirls: How is training going into this fight? Working on anything in particular?

Duke: Training leading up to this fight has been much different. I took a few months and worked purely on gaining size and strength. I got on a serious weightlifting routine and got on a special diet that consisted of lots and lots of calories. I cut out almost all of my cardio and focused on gaining some mass. I’m naturally an ectomorph, which means that my body resists weight and muscle gain. I had to really shock my system into gaining some serious mass and I was successful. I knew about this fight 1 month in advance. I kept the heavy lifting up but reintroduced the cardio training. Lots of running and conditioning work helped bounce my cardio right back to where it was.

As far as technical training goes I am always improving both my stand up and my ground game. Since my opponent is a wrestler, I have naturally been working lots of anti-wrestling techniques but I make sure that I consistently improve in all areas.

FG: How much do you know about your opponent?

JD: My opponent, Sarah Cook, is mainly a wrestler. I have seen her fight twice and I feel comfortable with my opponent. She is 5’4″ and has a record of 2-1.

FG: Any plans to fight again after this match? If a return to Tuff-n-uff in the works?

JD: I will be fighting as much as I can this year. I need all the experience I can get. A return to tuff-n-uff is definitely in my future. If I didn’t have the fight this weekend I would have been fighting in tuff-n-uff next weekend. It’s quite possible that while I’m filming the reality show in Vegas that I’m going to be apart of that I will get the chance to fight again for Tuff. I look forward to it.

The Absolute Action MMA Anniversary show will be at Midwest Sports Complex in Florence, KY this Saturday. Fights start at 7 p.m. eastern. You can also watch the stream online live by going to  for $10.

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