Zoila Gurgel ready for drama-free return against Maia at Invicta FC 5


Zoila Gurgel isn’t going to complain about having a relatively drama-free fight coming up this week.

Gurgel (12-2) on Friday meets Jennifer Maia (6-2-1) on the main card of Invicta FC 5. There’s been no trash talk, no drama – it’s just been a nice, pleasant fight camp for Gurgel for a change.

Invicta FC 5 takes place at Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. The main card, including Gurgel vs. Maia, airs via online pay-per-view.

“Sometimes the drama does fuel me, but it’s only turned out negative if there’s any drama behind it (in the past),” Gurgel on Monday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I’ve always been an aggressive person who always had a little attitude growing up, but it’s never been a favorite for me. I like to go in there without having any of that drama.”

Trash talk in the past has gotten under Gurgel’s skin. So steering clear of the emotional hurdles that go with talking back, as well as the desire to get back on track after a December upset loss to Jessica Eye at Bellator 83, are keeping Gurgel motivated right now.

“The losses, we all learn from them,” she said. “I’ve made this mistake twice in taking the whole trash talk to another level. I need to just let it be and not let these girls get to me. Nobody really likes to lose, but I really hate to lose. So to come off that and have that feeling still lingering, it’s not a feeling I want to have again. I’ve prepared myself, mentally and physically, even more for this last one to go in there and leave it all in there.”

In 2010, Gurgel rebounded from the first loss of her career, an armbar submission setback against Miesha Tate for Strikeforce, to win Bellator’s Season 3 women’s 115-pound tournament and that promotion’s first women’s title.

In the tournament, she took decisions from Jessica Penne, Jessica Aguilar and Megumi Fujii.

But there were issues with Bellator, and Gurgel wasn’t shy about them. When things finally came to a close between the two sides, she signed with Invicta. So far, she believes the grass is greener.

“It’s such a relief,” she said. “It’s like going to work and doing what I love to do again. Before, it was, ‘Man, I have to go to work again, and I don’t know what to expect, if I’m going to get cold shoulders, or this or that.’ When it comes to Invicta, it’s a whole new ballgame – it’s being appreciated for the work I put in and the athlete that I am and what I’ve accomplished. These last fights before, it wasn’t the same feeling. It was more a drag than anything else. I’ve found that love for it again – I don’t want to say I lost it, but there was so much tension it wasn’t really comfortable for me. Now I’m free again, and I’m going to be appreciated for it because of the hard work I put in.”

Gurgel, the wife of former UFC and Strikeforce fighter Jorge Gurgel, actually moved her training camp from her home Ohio base to California for this fight with Maia – just to get out of her comfort zone and change things up a little bit.

She hopes that will help spur a return to her previous mostly dominant ways.

“I needed to get out of the comforts of my own home and sleeping in my own bed, where everything is normal,” she said. “I had to do something new. To come out here to California and do new and better things, it’s nice for me.”

And that could wind up being not very nice at all for Maia if Gurgel’s suspicions are correct.

For more on Invicta FC 5, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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