Jessin Ayari is not closing the door on his UFC future yet. The German fighter told Sportskeeda that he will be flying out to Vegas with his management team next week to discuss the possibility of renewing a contract with the UFC.
"I will fly to Vegas this week," Ayari revealed. "And then I [will] meet with my management and then we [will] talk about my future. We have a little plan but we need to sit at the table and talk about everything clearly. And then I will know much more." It promises to be a fascinating few weeks for the 28-year-old.
Reports in December indicated that the UFC had released Ayari [16-6]. This may have been a dramatic way of phrasing it, Ayari suggests. He had a four-fight contract and he had completed it. Now it was a matter of seeing if they could work out another deal or if Jessin Ayari had to link up with another promotion.
"I'm 28 years old, so I'm not that old, in the sport, and I have a lot of experience. I don't expect to be on top tomorrow. I have a bit of time, so I need to figure out what is the best way for myself to get on top again."
Ayari's four-fight stint with the UFC wasn't the most successful. Three ended in defeat, but three also went the distance. Fans will best know Ayari for the entertaining bout he had against Darren Till on the UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Teixeira preliminary card in May 2017. Till won by unanimous decision.
Ayari was on a seven-fight win streak prior to that defeat, which triggered a three-loss slide. The former run included a victory on his UFC debut. Asked if there were any lessons he would learn from the chastening first stint, Ayari replied:
"I think from every fight - it doesn't matter if you win or lose - there are opportunities to learn and win. From everything, you should learn a lot, but you cannot like say everything was a mistake, like everything was bad. You need to be true to yourself, that's the most important thing, like, and reflect on it. It could be a technical point, it could be a mental point. So I tried to fix everything out and every loss is also like beginning for something new. Start again or you give up, but that [the latter] is not an option for me."
Jessin Ayari's most recent professional bout was a first-round loss to Brazilian lightweight Luigi Vendramini. It was his first outing after a lay-off of almost two years, and it didn't go to plan. He's had time to think about why that happened.
After the loss, he was 'pissed off' at himself. Jessin Ayari had underestimated his opponent and 'in his mind, given Vendramini no chance.'
"I think in fighting you need to fear your opponent. And I was not fearing him, I was like 'no chance' and that was a big mistake because if you do not fear your opponent a bit, you are not really focused, or concentrated. And I think that was a bit of a mistake for myself," Ayari reflected. Talking about his senses not being sharp, he used this analogy: "It's the same as if someone shoots a gun. It doesn't matter where you are - it could be three in the morning, it could be anytime - but if you hear a weapon, close to you, your adrenaline goes up and you focus, and you concentrate. That's the same with fighting."
Jessin Ayari is locked down in Germany
Jessin Ayari is currently based in Nurnberg in Germany. Covid-19 restrictions there mean that his daily life has been severely altered. For example, gyms are closed. Luckily for Ayari, he has his own studio which provides all he needs.
"I have a pretty nice gym. I have always said that all I need as a fighter is a good mat, a cage, a heavy bag, and normally that is for sure enough. But if you want to make it more professional, oh man, there is an endless... I mean I was in the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas and they have [numerous] machines for training. I don't know what machine, maybe it is like $50,000 or something, and you can check so many details, that's nice. You have your own like little pool in the gym. You can train much better. The technology envolved so much. Every day there's something new. But I have the basics. I have my tatami mat. I have training partners. I have my heavy bags, my punching bags, whatever, the basic stuff for a gym, and I have like 400 square meters to train in."