Following a very successful run in the amateur ranks, strawweight up and comer Vanessa Demopoulos made her pro debut last December with a first-round submission victory over Emme Weber at IT Fight Series 79.
As Demopoulos puts it, everything she had done up until that point necessitated a move to the pro ranks at that time.
“Going pro was something that I had my heart set on for a very long time,” Demopoulos told MMAWeekly.com. “After I had my amateur bouts with Tuff-N-Uff and winning the 115-pound title for them, so it was just time. There wasn’t really much more for me to do as an amateur.”
For Demopoulos, the dedication at the pro level is what she feels separates it the most from what she was seeing in the amateur ranks.
“It’s been really refreshing seeing the level at which some of the pros conduct themselves,” said Demopoulos. “There has been quite the jump going from amateurs to pros. It’s refreshing.
“Being a pro has really changed the way I look at fighting. Where as an amateur I didn’t focus as much; I was doing everything constantly, but I was more focused on my Jiu-Jitsu career throughout my amateur MMA career, where as a professional I’m getting to do what I love to do, which is MMA.”
After spending much of the year waiting for a fight, Demopoulos (1-0) will finally get in her first bout of 2018 when she faces Itzel Esquivel (3-2) in a main card strawweight bout this Friday at LFA 52 in Belton, Texas.
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“I’ve been continuously in the fire thinking I was going to have a fight ever since March,” Demopoulos said. “This has been just like one giant training camp in 2018.
“I’m honored that Itzel is going to be walking into the cage with me. I know she’s got a few pro fights. I’m thankful. It’s been a long time since I finally stepped into the cage. It’s really cool that she’s stepping up.”
While the majority of her 2018 was spent out of action, Demopoulos is looking to close out the year in rapid succession with bouts across multiple disciplines.
“I definitely want to get in two fights before the end of this year, so I’ll have this fight with Itzel and then I’ll move onto the next bout after that,” said Demopoulos. “I also have a professional Jiu-Jitsu match in Denver in a few weeks for Fight 2 Win for their featherweight, 125 pounds, purple belt.”