Q&A: Emily Ducote says Bellator 186 rematch with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will be “better version” of first fight

This Friday (November 3) at Bellator 186, Emily Ducote, 6-2, will renew acquaintances with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, 6-0, eleven months after losing a unanimous decision to the unbeaten Hawaiian at Bellator 167.

At stake in the rematch will be the inaugural Bellator women’s flyweight title, which not only adds some extra spice, but also gives both Ducote and Macfarlane the chance to make history.

Ahead of the fight, Emily took the time to answer the questions of Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid.


Question: After losing to Ilima-Lei Macfarlane in your first fight, you now have a shot at redemption, all while making history and becoming the inaugural Bellator women’s flyweight champion. How do you fee about that?

Emily Ducote: Yes, that is a lot! This fight is exactly 11 months after our first fight. That in itself is kind of cool. A year later we are meeting again. The second part of it, fighting for the inaugural flyweight title, is an amazing honor and opportunity. Whatever the outcome of the fight, one of the cool things to me is that this fight is history. You can’t change that. My name is going to be a part of that. It’s me and Ilima. That is unchangeable. That is really exciting. Just to be a part of this division, just since I was signed last July, has grown so much. There has been a lot of effort put into it. Everything about this fight is exciting.

Q: How do you see the rematch playing out?

ED: It’s been almost a year since that first fight. I have changed and progressed and worked on different things and I’m sure she has done the same. Honestly, I think it’s just going to be a better version of the last fight. It will probably go everywhere. I don’t have a prediction because anything can happen. I am expecting a better version of what we did a year ago.

Q: Not to get ahead of ourselves, but have you imagined the moment that belt is going to be wrapped around your waist?

ED: I don’t think too far ahead. We are just focusing on the fight. My grandparents are going to be there. I am really looking forward to them watching me. With all of my coaches there, that moment, will be something special.

Q: Penn State University is known for many things, and being a party school is toward the top of the list. What are you planning to do in your downtime before or after the fight?

ED: I have no idea what to expect. I was looking up the airport and how far the school was from it. To me, it seems like we are really getting into a college town, with everything so close together. That’s what I am expecting: college town with college students, and it’s going to be Halloween week. Bellator is coming and it’s going to be right on campus, basically. I am envisioning a college environment where everybody is going to be pretty pumped for this.

Q: Some fans might be seeing you for the first time in this fight. Which fight of yours would you show them as an introduction?

ED: That is a really difficult question. I feel like all five of my Bellator fights have been very different. Every fight I have shown something else or have been tested in a different way. I know I am really excited  for this fight. I am really excited to try to put better pieces together and do more in different areas.

Q: What has been the most memorable moment from a training session?

ED: My head coach has been with me and stepped in the cage with me since my first amateur fight. Shortly after that I met my boxing coach and since then we have been inseparable. People think you enjoy the wins more than the losses. We definitely do, but we learn more from the losses. After my first Bellator loss, we realized we are going to do this. We realized we have a chance and that we belong on this level. We deserve to be here and we just want to be the best we can be. After the loss we just regrouped and we came back. You can have a lot of people around when you are winning, but who do you have when you lose? Who do you have when the spotlight isn’t on you? I have a great group of people when I am wining and when I am losing. That is what matters to me: to know who the important people are and who will be there for you.

Q: What fighters inspire you most?

ED: I absolutely love Claudia Gadelha. If I had to pick a favorite female fighter it would be her. I also love Demetrious Johnson. He is incredible. He is so smart and so technical. Those two are the first people I think of when I am asked that question.

Q: If not MMA, what would you be doing for a living?

ED: I occasionally think about where I would be or what office I would be in. It never ends well. I can never think of something I would really enjoy doing. I know I am in the right place.