One of the best parts of mixed martial arts, and combat sports as a whole, is the mutual respect earned between opponents once the fight comes to a close. Sometimes, it’s an amicable handshake and a hatchet buried. Other times, it’s a big embrace after a war, knowing their stories are bonded. Sometimes, that respect blossoms into a new opportunity, which is what happened for Emily Ducote after she dropped a decision to Angela Hill in Orlando.
The 29-year-old Ducote was disappointed in the result, of course, but Hill extended an offer to train with her, Jessica Penne and company in San Diego. Not one to let pride get in the way of a good opportunity, Ducote accepted.
“I was like, ‘Hey, I'm going to take you up on this offer. I want to come out,’” Ducote told UFC.com. “I really like the two of them, so I learned a lot from them. They've got a lot of fights, a lot of experience, so it was it was a really good time.”
The experience didn’t necessarily wipe away the bitter taste of a loss out of Ducote’s mouth, though. Heading into that contest, she had won her last four fights, including her UFC debut against Penne.
The former Invicta FC strawweight champion knew she couldn’t sit and wallow long, so that’s when she took Hill up on her offer.
“(Losing) was not fun,” she said. “It was not a great night for me. I just went home, settled in, kind of assessed what I felt like. I needed to learn from that, and I feel like we really implemented that into this campaign. Everything's been going really good, and I'm really just excited to step back in and fight.”
Originally booked to fight Polyana Viana in late-April, Ducote is now slated to fight on the same card as her newfound friend against Loopy Godinez at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Hill.
RELATED: Angela Hill: ‘I Want A Submission’
The change of opponents isn’t ideal in any scenario. That’s just the fight game. That said, Ducote acknowledges the stark differences between Viana and Godinez, namely their size.
“We mainly spent time focusing on improving my stuff and really just strengthening everything for me,” Ducote said. “(The change of opponent) is not a huge impact. They’re not very similar, but I'm excited nonetheless.”
She recognizes Godinez as someone who prefers to grapple but is willing to stand and bang, and as Ducote is one who believes in all of her skills, she is excited to put on a complete mixed martial arts display.
The last time Ducote suffered a loss, she ripped off the four-fight streak that put her across from Hill. A similar run could have her in the deep end of the deepest women’s division in no time, but first, she is wholly focused on the business at hand on May 20.
“I put a lot of emphasis on being well-rounded,” Ducote said. “I look to mix it up and just fight. Last time, I did not get to do any of what I wanted to do, so it just happened, and it sucked. This time, I've been feeling really good, and I'm just looking forward to putting it all together.”
UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Hill took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 20, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!