Ronda Rousey, Liz Carmouche, Patricia Vidonic, Jessica Aguilar, Cyborg and Felice Herrig are some of the first names that come to mind when someone starts to talk about females in the world of MMA and combat sports but what about the up and comers? We hear names like Bec Hyatt and rest of Invicta but one name you should keep your eye on could be Jessica Dobbs. She is an up and coming prospect in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu holding Blue Belt and high level of Tae Kwon Do skills to compliment. She is out of Starkville, Mississippi and trains with one of our best interview subjects Anthony Mitchell (@bigantmonster). Take a minute to delve into the mind of not only amazing people but one hell of a fighter too! Also give her a follow on Twitter @mulanishere.
Hey Jessica thanks for taking some time out of the gym to sit down and talk with us, can you take a minute and tell us about what got you into the world of MMA and BJJ?
Dobbs: Thanks for having me! I started getting into the world of MMA in elementary school with Tae Kwon Do. I did that till I was in middle school, took a break then came back to it in high school. I am currently a 3rd level Dan Black Belt.
That’s amazing! We tend to hear a lot about wrestling and karate at a young age but not Korean martial arts like Tae Kwon Do. So what got you into BJJ?
Dobbs: When I was in college at Mississippi State there was a BJJ club team which really sparked my interest. I was very well rounded in my striking but I never really had a ground game so I joined.The club wasn’t super serious and when I got the love for BJJ I wanted more but there wasn’t really anything out there for me. My TKD instructor later brought in an MMA guy, so I saw there was a grappling tournament, I entered. I had like 3 weeks of experience and ended up getting arm-barred but I didn’t tap hahaha the ref stopped it out of safety. Jae McIntosh (No Limit Jiu Jitsu) was at this tournament and saw me and was really impressed and long story short I left Tae Kwon Do and ended up following and training under him. I was blown away by his experience and that fact he saw something in me. Coming from that club at State where it wasn’t too serious to training with him was a different world! I still have a great love for Tae Kwon Do but it got repetitive and BJJ is like a chess match each time on the mat, I love it.
That is amazing and glad he was there to see you! So moving more into current day we see the explosion of WMMA and women joining fight gyms, you have been around since the start what type of struggles have you seen since your start?
Dobbs: Well, when I started in the club no one really took it seriously and that bothered me because I want to be the best in whatever I do. When I started at No Limit JJ I was the only girl and I am sure this is true for any female but I would be frustrated each day because I am competing with guys all day and felt like I wasn’t getting any better. The guys were just bigger, stronger and more experienced than me. A lot of times I had to hold back my emotions because I didn’t want them to see that side of me. But Jae was behind me 100% of the time and kept telling me to keep going and drilling me all the time. I think that whole experience, while it sucked when going through it made be better.
Yeah, I am sure you are not alone in that boat. Now you come very highly recommended by one of coolest and badass BJJ guys I know, Anthony Mitchell. How much does it mean to have the support of guys like him and Jay?
Dobbs: It means the world to me. Anthony is an awesome guy even if he kicks my butt everyday in the gym. One day I will get him but until then I just keep getting better and learning from him and Jae, they are special guys. Both are really great guys and I can’t imagine pursuing my BJJ career without them and their support. Have the support from them and all the No Limit/ American Killer Bees team is like nothing else. We’re a family and definitely treat each other like one.
Yeah, they are great people and you should all read the back and forth between her and Anthony on Twitter, they are just like family hahaha. You also recently got your Blue Belt can you tell us about the emotions that went through your mind when you achieved that status?
Dobbs: (Laughing) it took awhile to sink in. I got it and didn’t really feel anything, yeah I was happy and proud but about two months later it really hit and I started thinking “yeah I can do this” and that came from me competing more and testing myself. I started out in BJJ frustrated and now I almost feel undeserving of it because it is amazing. I have put a lot of hard work in and it’s just hard to put into words… amazing!
Can you point to a specific event in your MMA life or maybe it comes from your personal life where you made that turn and knew MMA was going to be a big part of your life?
Dobbs: Yep, it was when I attended the Women’s Grappling Camp: Groundswell Grappling Concepts in San Antonio, TX at Andre Monteiro’s Carlson Gracie Academy with Emily Kwok and Valerie Worthington. It was great to be surrounded females and the instructors were top of the line. I was in awe at the talent that was around me and only being a white belt I took my bumps but it was the best thing for me. I learned so much there and gained so much confidence when I came back I wanted to bring more women into the gym so I started my own women’s only Jiu Jitsu class. We went from having only me to now 6 women and keep growing, it’s great!
So all you women in the great state of Mississippi time to get over to Jessica’s classes from what I hear they are amazing they are on Monday and Wednesday from 6-7pm at the No Limit Gym in Starksville! So you go from all women to back to a gym with only guys. Take a minute to tell us how it is rolling with guys?
Dobbs: My honest opinion is that I don’t think guys know how to roll with a girl. They either go very easy and we both get nothing out of it or they go 1000% on the weaker female and I don’t get any better. It is cool to roll with a guy like Anthony because he makes sure to let me get my work in, but that is rare. I mean I can roll with a White Belt guy and we can both get something out of it but a Blue Belt who goes at his true skill level not a chance when strength becomes the determining factor. But most of the guys at my gym understand the differences, because they have to deal with me. haha
Nice! I hear you have been working on your bow and arrow and knee bars on Anthony, could be only a matter of time till you get him to tap hahaha. Now we talked about the struggles coming up in the world of MMA what do you think of this explosion of Women’s MMA lately?
Dobbs: HAHAHA he makes fun of my bow and arrow all the time. Pure Awesomeness! The sport is now expanding and the UFC is adding in new weight classes for women which is amazing! In fact the night that Ronda and Liz fought I held a women’s only open mat which was a great success. I am happy to see the sport evolve.
So when can we expect you to step in the cage?
Dobbs: That is one of my goals! I still have a love for striking from my Tae Kwon Do days, and train boxing and Muay Thai with Jae, and when that meshes with my ground game, I do want to step foot in the cage. I did some amateur kickboxing with no real experience except from what I had in Tae Kwon Do and did ok. I think everyone should do a martial art, it really does help you find out who you really are.
Now speaking of people finding out who they are and doing martial arts, there has been a ton of media in the last 7 days about Fallon Fox, the transgender fighter. Do you have any opinions on that?
Dobbs: Keep in mind I was a sociology major in school so my views may be a bit different. But I think if her opponents know her past and agree to the fight then so be it, let her fight. There seems to be like you said a lot of negative press like she is a man who likes beating up women and I don’t think that is the case at all. I think she likes to fight. I think there needs to be a lot more research done on transgender fighters before any conclusions can be made about the situation, I’m sure there are more out there.
Wow, that may be the most mature response to that I have seen yet! Nicely played. Now we ask all of our guests the old Fight Club question of if you could stand across the cage from anyone who would it be and why?
Dobbs: That is a tough one! I would have to go with Michelle Waterson, she has a Karate background and I was very impressed by her BJJ game in her last fight. I really like watching her fights and I think that would be cool.
Awesome and great choice, ok last question, if you could give any bit of advice to someone looking to get into the world of MMA or BJJ what would it be and why?
Dobbs: Try it out and stick with it, too many people get through day one or week one then quit. There is more to BJJ than day 1. I once heard a quote that stuck with me “You vever get to a point in your journey when your Jiu Jitsu is complete”.
Amazing quote! Before we let ya go are there any sponsors or people you would like to mention?
Dobbs: I’d like to thank my instructor Jae McIntosh, head instructor Jarrett Becks, professor Israel Gomes, Anthony Mitchell for telling you guys about me, my training partners, students and everyone from No Limit/American Killer Bees, our gym sponsor; Big Deal Supplements. I’d like to thank my gi sponsor Roots Kimonos, Zena Sciarrino and Profight Supplements and Girl Jitsu for supporting me. Thanks again to artofmma.com for talking to me this was great!