Out and Strong— MMA champion Jessica Aguilar defends her title this weekend

It takes a lot of hard work to become the world's number one Mixed Martial Arts athlete in your weight class. Out MMA fighter Jessica Aguilar has always been willing to do that work. Aguilar, who was born in Mexico but raised in Houston, spends about 5-8 hours a day and six days a week in intensive training as she prepares to defend her title during her next fight June 21.

Her strength, Aguilar says, helped her come out to her mom, who is from rural Mexico. "I'm confident. I was the one, in school, protecting the other kids from bullies. So I told her 'Mom, it'll be okay. You'll see I'm still the same person. I'm still me. She's supportive now."Jessica Aguilar and her mom

Protecting kids from bullies is still a goal. In fact she's part of a speaker's program in Florida where she now lives with her girlfriend. And trains. And trains and then trains some more.

Aguilar has been fighting since February 2006. She fights about 3 to 4 times a year and her record is 17-4. While already number one in the world in the straw weight class, her current goal is to become the pound for pound best female MMA fighter in the world.

Aguilar says she's experienced no homophobia in MMA nor sexism, and has actually enjoyed strong support from those in the sport. Pay equity between male and female athletes has yet to be achieved, but she's hopeful that will soon happen.

And she's confident she'll win her match June 21. The fights air on NBC Sports Network starting at 4p.m. ET/7p.m. PT

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