Jessy Miele is a woman to be feared, in the cage. The 30-year-old Prospect resident has won four straight professional mixed martial arts fights. She is now the No. 1 ranked MMA bantamweight in New England and she is currently ranked No. 2 in California, according to Tapology.com.
Combat Press lists Miele as the No. 12 featherweight in the nation.
Her most recent fight was on June 19 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. It was a TKO beat down of Janice Meyer. The bout lasted 111 seconds.
Miele is an MMA fighter on the rise. By day she is a mild-mannered multimedia content developer at Post University. By night she works out with Chris Smith at the IMB Academy of CT, in an old warehouse building on Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury. She also teaches women’s MMA and self-defense classes there.
And when she climbs into the cage she kicks butt.
Her next bout is Aug. 15 at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I. against Peggy “Daywalker” Morgan of New Hampshire, currently ranked No. 11 by Combat Press.
“This is a high profile fight for me, as well as for her,” Miele said. “She beat the woman who beat me, she has a high ranking and she has been on The Ultimate Fighter TV show.”
It is another MMA challenge for Miele, who has no fear of a challenge.
Her first pro fight was 13 months ago at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The opponent was Andria Wawro. Miele was beaten in just 19 seconds. She lost by submission on a rear-naked choke hold. Her debut in the pro cage did not last long. It was a humbling experience.
“It was my first fight after I had completed grad school,” Miele said.
She had trained for more than 30 months while she pursued a master’s degree. She trained, but she did not fight. She stepped into the cage for her first pro fight with uncontrolled enthusiasm.
“I was really excited and very confident,” she said. “I ran right in there at the bell.”
And right into a punch.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Miele recalled clearly now. It was a bit hazy then.
“I was very dazed, and by the time I realized what was going on, I was on my back.”
It was one of life’s great teaching moments. The Arena was loaded with Miele’s family and friends. There was “a huge burden on my shoulders. There were a lot of people there to see me fight.”
That night may have redefined Miele’s career. She was beaten, not defeated. She stepped out of the dressing room and into the love of family and friends. She was also filled with resolve. This was something Miele could fix.
“I knew that is was time to move forward, to assess how and why, and keep going,” Miele said. “She got the best of me, this time.”
At no time did Miele question her pursuit of MMA pro career.
“I could have quit,” she said, “but that’s stupid. I have been doing sports forever. This is what I want. Everybody loses, and everybody fails. The best part of failure is that you get to try again.”
Miele now has balance to her life. Her education is complete, she loves her work at Post, and she dearly loves every minute that she puts in at the gym.
“There is never enough time in the gym,” Miele joked. “You want to walk into a fight saying, ‘I’ve done everything possible.’ You want to walk away from a fight knowing that you did everything you could, and then you accept the result.”
The results have been impressive. She has won four straight bouts, including two victories in California, hence the California ranking.
Miele has applied a valuable lesson learned from that first time in a pro cage.
“I have slowed it down in my head,” she said. “I don’t just run in there. I look and I see everything in front of me.”
There is a lot in front of Miele right now, and it is all good. She has attained brown belt level in jiu jitsu and is on track to attain her black belt. She also dearly loves to teach her self-defense class.
“It is a way to learn how to defend yourself, and get into shape,” she said. “It is great exercise.”
She believes she can also be a good role model for women who want to have a career, have a family, and train, and maybe fight. She describes her day as “get up, go to work, go to the gym, and go home.”
She recommends it, or part of it anyway, to all.
“It was a lifestyle change, when I learned martial arts, and it changed me,” Miele explained. “I feel more confident. Even when I’m not in good shape, my out of shape is in shape.”
There is something profound in there.
“If you want to make it work, you can make it work,” Miele added.
Jessy Miele makes it work.