Sofia BagherdaiFollowing a three-year layoff, Sofia Bagherdai returned to MMA earlier this year. And while the results might not have been in her favor, just to be able to get back to fighting was welcome enough.

“I slowly worked my way back into it and obviously I feel it’s where I need to be and now I’m continuing on with it,” said Bagherdai. “I took a long break just because life kind of took a toll on me and I needed to take some time off and stuff. Now that I’m back at it, I feel great.”

Bagherdai feels that it wasn’t so much rust in three years away from MMA that was a factor in her unanimous decision loss to Ashley Cummins at Invicta FC in April; it was that she tried to fight too light.

“She took me down a lot in the fight, so that’s definitely something I needed to work on, but it’s not so much my takedown defense wasn’t on par, I just didn’t have the strength,” Bagherdai said. “I cut like 11 or 12 pounds in one night and it’s super hard for me to get down to 115 pounds, so my body was weak and fatigued.

“I warmed up really, really well before the fight, but after the first round I was shot. I was telling myself that it was going to be tough and that I’d definitely have to save some energy so I could make it through the fight. From there I was pretty much fighting on pure heart and just trying to make it through the fight.”

Bagherdai will fight at a more natural 125 pounds when she has her second fight back on Friday night against a fighter she has some familiarity with, Sarah Maloy, at XFC 20 in Knoxville, Tenn. live on AXS TV.

“We did an all-girls seminar type thing together and actually got partnered up,” Bagherdai told MMAWeekly.com. “Sarah’s a sweetheart. I have nothing bad to say about her and I’m excited to fight her.

“I don’t know where she’s going to take the fight. From what I know of her, she’s a ground girl, but in her last fight she stood up and from what I’m hearing she wants to stand up and put on a good fight. I’m pretty much ready for wherever she takes it and, to be honest with you, I’m going to try to go in there and set the pace and have things how I want it.”

With women’s MMA riding an all-time high, Bagherdai’s decision to return to fighting now couldn’t have come at a better time.

“If women’s MMA is going to make it, it’s going to make it now,” she said. “If we all stick together and have the mindset, women’s MMA can make it to the top just like the men.

“I have a long term deal with XFC and all my fights are going to be live on AXS TV, so I’m going to get lots of exposure and I’m going to get to show the world what I’m capable of doing. If I go out there and get some attention, things will go up from here. I definitely have a goal in mind and I do whatever it takes to get there.”

(Photo courtesy of XFC)

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