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'It is just frickin' unreal': Squamish's hometown fighter grateful for community support

Back from her UFC win, Jamey-Lyn Horth Wessels reflects and looks forward to whatever awaits her in the ring.

Locals know Squamish fighter Jamey-Lyn Horth Wessels is always physically ready for whatever fight — or loggers' sport — the world can throw at her.

She proved that again to the world during her Ultimate Fighting Championship debut on April 29 in Las Vegas. 

Horth Wessels earned a unanimous decision over U.S. bantamweight Hailey Cowan at the UFC Apex.

The judges scored in Horth Wessels's favour 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.

Given her passion for making it into the UFC ring and the attention that comes with being Squamish's darling — she had 20 friends and family with her — how did she mentally keep the jitters down when she stepped into the ring for this big fight?

She told The Squamish Chief she keeps her routine "normal" and surrounds herself with familiar faces. 

"I spend time with my family, and my mom and one of my sisters got to make the trip this time. So just normality," she said. 

And she uses the tension of the big event to fuel her fire. 

"Belly breathing and then staying focused and harnessing that extra stress and anxiety and using that as fuel once I step in the cage," she said. 

"I really just like to stay calm and focused."

Asked what surprised her in the ring, Horth Wessels noted that all her previous fights ended in a finish, not the judges' decision. 

"I've never made it full round. So that was ... definitely a new experience. Going to the judges' scorecard ... can always be a risky thing," she said. 

Hometown hero

Once home, Horth Wessels headed straight to Sunny Chibas for a burrito. 

She explained that her pre-fight routine is typically to have her hair braided, buy a new pair of shoes, and eat a burrito.

This time, she got her hair braided and was given a new pair of shoes, but because the fight was earlier in the day, she didn't have a burrito, breaking that pre-bout routine. But as soon as she pulled into town, she bee-lined for that burrito.

"My coach said we don't need to be superstitious anymore, [but] you know, I still love to have the burrito, and I still love Sunny Chibas — the owners have always been super gracious and taken good care of me and supported me and loved me. So it was natural that as soon as I walked off the plane and was driving into town, I had to pull in," she said. 

Since returning to town, she said it has been "crazy" with well-wishers blowing up her phone.

Much of Squamish stopped during her fight, with several viewing parties at local pubs like The Cleveland Tavern and Hendrickson Ball Fields. 

The Squamish Slo Pitch Association stopped play everyone gathered to watch the fight, something that shocked Wessels. 

"I mean, I knew there were going to be some sort of viewing parties going on, but to the extent that they ended up being was a huge surprise. It was absolutely amazing," she said. 

"Just the camaraderie that you can see in the whole town of Squamish and the community coming together, it's just absolutely frickin' unreal," she said. 

As for what is next, Horth Wessels said she will take a week to process the win, recover, and then head back to the gym.

"And stay ready for whatever comes," she said.