Jones-Lybarger will face the unbeaten Tecia Torres in the 115-pound (strawweight) class, after an injury forced Torres’ expected opponent off the fight card. Jones-Lybarger has a 6-1 professional record, but has never competed in the UFC, the premiere mixed martial arts (MMA) league. (Those hoping to see her up against the widely publicized UFC fighters Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm will be out of luck; they fight in the heavier bantamweight class.)
She told Combat Press yesterday, “It’s crazy. I am the only married lesbian with kids in the UFC now. I am a wife, a stepmom, training full-time and bringing up two wonderful girls.” Her “very active” girls keep her busy, but she credits other moms and especially her wife Jana for helping things to work out:
It’s so exciting to watch them strive for success, even though the scheduling isn’t easy. A lot of the moms carpool and take turns driving. And Jana is a survivor, a cancer survivor, who now works at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. She makes everything happen. They’ve been great, in every way.
Jones-Lybarger herself serves as an Ambassador for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. In a previous interview with Combat Press, she offered further insight into their relationship and their family’s reaction to marriage equality:
Jana is phenomenal. She lets me do what I need to do to be successful.… I am just so lucky; she is superwoman and somehow makes all my doctor’s appointments, sends applications, cooks, everything. Today, I made the bed and folded laundry. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without her.
When the courts finally decided on the gay marriage, we were overjoyed. We wouldn’t want to have to explain to our girls that the U.S. didn’t recognize our marriage. But they announced the win, and we called each other and pulled the kids out of school and went to celebrate together. The kids got to pick, so we went to Red Robin. They were excited, but I don’t think they understood what a big deal it was, and hopefully they will never experience the other.
Here’s a photo of her in action (may take a moment to load):
— MMA Mad (@MMAMadOfficial) December 8, 2015
And here’s an interview she did with MMA Fighting, talking about her thoughts on the fight and her reaction when she got the call to compete. (Ignore the awful title, which focuses on only one aspect of the interview.)
I have a black belt in taekwondo myself, and as a fellow strawweight, am very excited to see her compete. (I haven’t trained heavily in MMA techniques myself, so I have no personal aspirations to UFC competition.) Watch her fight this Saturday on FOX Sports 1, at 8 p.m. ET.