A photograph preserves a memory. It allows emotion to be rekindled long after an event takes place. Photographs can trigger happiness, they can reignite sorrow and pain or any kind of emotion that one can feel, they can bring it to life and they can be the spark of a conversation.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Step into Integrated MMA in Brisbane, Australia, and glance to the left. There, you’ll see plenty of photographs on the wall. The faces in those pictures each represent a champion.

However, these pictures, whilst each will tell its own unique story, all speak the same simple words: success, dedication, honor and passion. That is what will be going through the mind of Integrated MMA’s Jessy Jess when she steps inside the cage next, in a fight where she is competing for XFC Australia’s very first women’s title.

“It’s pretty cool, but, for me, I just got my place up on the Integrated wall, so being up on that wall again means more than the individual title,” Jess explained to The MMA Corner. “I would love to be able to get up there again with another title win, to be alongside some of the best fighters in Australia who are on that wall. That’s what is important to me. Not so much the title itself.”

The preparation for a fight can be truly enhanced by having a close-knit team. Jess has exactly that with Integrated MMA, and the camaraderie that is displayed within the team is often attributed to their success. A lot of the time in the sport of mixed martial arts, a fighter is out to win for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, when a fighter has a team behind them who are passionate about each other’s fights, it brings a whole new sense of purpose to the members of the camp.

“Every time one of our team gets a win, it’s such a good feeling,” Jess explained. “Every time you fight, you just wanna keep the gym streak going. Having such elite-level coaches, like Adrian Pang, who are still competing and doing it successfully, that’s inspiring and it makes you want to succeed even more. Even with a loss, everyone still gets behind you and everyone just works harder.”

On Nov. 16 2013, Jess suffered her first professional loss. She dropped a decision to Kyra Purcell at Fight World Cup. It was the first loss of her young career.

“I was pretty bummed,” Jess admitted. “I felt like I lost the fight because I was just going in there to fight for the fun of it. I wasn’t fighting to win the fight—I just wanted to fight. When you are a professional in any sport, not just fighting, you have to compete to win. That’s the main reason you should be competing. And in that fight, I wasn’t. I just wanted to fight for the enjoyment of being in there. I won’t let that happen again.”

Jess’s next bout takes place on June 14 at XFC 21 in Brisbane, where she squares off with New Zealand’s Kate Da Silva for the XFC bantamweight title. With title implications comes a whole different array of emotions for a fighter. However, Jess has ensured that she keeps her head level.

“Whether it’s for a title or not, it’s just another fight for me,” Jess confessed. “It doesn’t matter who it’s for, I am training at the same level. If it’s for a title or if it’s for Invicta, it doesn’t matter. I’m still training just as hard, and I’m training to win.”

Da Silva boasts a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. That offers another challenge for Jess, who is well known for her grappling skills, which she has showcased in her previous fights. It’s safe to say that she has never fought against someone who has similar credentials to those of Da Silva on the ground. However, it doesn’t change Jess’s mindset going into the bout.

“I’m pretty confident,” Jess admitted. “[The black belt]’s something I’m conscious of. Is it something I’m worried about? No. I know what I am training for, and I am confident in the preparation that I have put in for the fight.”

Every fight is an important one. Once the experience is there, a fighter can be just one win away from breaking through to the next big stage of their career. Another chance to have a photo added to a wall might not seem like a big deal, but it’s not so much about a photo or a belt. It’s about a memory. It’s about knowing that you are the best and most capable competitor. Jess isn’t discounting the fact that she has a title to win. Instead, she’s embracing the memory that will come with it.

Jessy would like to thank her coaches—Dan Higgins, Adrian Pang, Nelson Stewart and Steve Compton—as well as Sean Hannam from EMT Fairtex. She would also like to thank her manager, Tony Green, and all of her teammates at Integrated MMA. She would like to thank her sponsors: Asbestop, Coreteq, Prestige MMA, NRCHI Bodywork, Fairtex Factory Bangplee, Mark Edmondson Performance Coaching, Staunch Supplements and Cem from Legion SC. Follow Jess on Twitter: @jessy_jessmma