Aga Niedzwiedz, who is undefeated in ten pro fights, headlines Invicta FC 26 this Friday. The young Pole, who bested Vanessa Porto last time out, meets Invicta flyweight champion Jennifer Maia (14-4-1) for a shot at gold and recognition as one of, if not the, best female flyweights on the planet.
The Porto fight went down at Invicta FC 23 in May. Niedźwiedź won that grueling affair via unanimous decision. Though she expressed that was delighted to get the win, thus setting up this weekend’s title shot, Niedźwiedź gave herself a mixed review for the performance.
“I think that I managed a couple of good things in the fight,” she told Bloody Elbow. “But I had a couple of mistakes, too. First round and second round were good for me, because I followed my plan and everything was going great, then the third round was the total reverse. So I’m happy about the first and second round, but not happy about the third. I have a lot to learn about this game, yet.”
With Porto now behind her, Niedźwiedź has shifted focus firmly to Maia and the Invicta 125lb belt. “After fighting Porto I knew that the only fight that I wanted was for a belt,” she said. “So I was really really happy to find out that I would be fighting with Maia. It is something that I wanted, so I’m really happy and really excited that I can have this fight with Maia.”
After winning the vacant Invicta flyweight title with that win over Porto, Maia defended the belt against Roxanne Modafferi. Just like the Porto fight, Maia vs. Modafferi was a thrilling back and forth contest that saw Maia win out on the judges’ scorecards. Between title fights, Maia also took a Muay Thai fight, which she won via TKO.
“I think that Jennifer Maia is a better and more complete fighter than Porto,” said Niedźwiedź when weighing up her next opponent’s skills. “I think Maia has better cardio and she always comes to fight five rounds. She is really good from distance and I think that she is really clever in fights. She’s obviously tough and has good striking, too.”
Despite having a lot of praise for Maia’s ability, the confident 22-year-old predicted a violent end to their upcoming fight.
“I think she’s a complete fighter and on the ground she’s also really good, but I see a lot of chances for me to end this fight early. So I’m going to end this fight in the second round. Last couple of fights went full distance, so I will want to finish this fight earlier.”
Niedźwiedź said she is fully aware that Maia is not an easy out (her last stoppage loss was to Sheila Gaff in 2012). However, she said she feels it is important for her to not only win the Invicta title, but to do it in devastating fashion.
“I am prepared for five rounds,” remarked Niedźwiedź. “I have been training a long time to prepare for these five rounds, but I just want to prove that I am a real champion and I want to end this fight early and prove that I am a much better fighter.”
For Niedźwiedź proving she is the best fighter at 125lbs in Invicta would signal that she’s likely the best at 125lber in the world. This is despite the UFC officially crowning its first women’s flyweight champion (Nicco Montano) last weekend.
“It would mean a lot for me to win this fight, because 125 in Invicta is like the best 125lb division in the world. So when you have the Invicta belt you are the best in the world. I know that I can win with Maia and become the best fighter in the 125lb division, so I can’t wait for this fight.”
Now with the UFC legitimizing its own flyweight division for women, the ZUFFA 125lb ranks are likely to swell; with recent TUF grads, women moving up and down in weight, and new acquisitions.
Niedźwiedź believes she has been on the UFC’s radar since before The Ultimate Fighter set up it’s flyweight tourney. However, she’s trying hard to keep that knowledge stored away. Instead thinking only of the immediate challenge ahead.
“I have in the back of my head that the UFC now has the 125lb division and I have in the back of my head that I will probably go there, because there will be the best girls in the world there and I want to fight the best girls. But right now, I am only focused on this fight. It is a really tough fight and I don’t want to make a mess of my head. I just want to have one goal; and that is to beat Maia.”
You can see whether or not Aga Niedźwiedź has what it takes to take the flyweight crown from Jennifer Maia this Friday on UFC Fight Pass. The action-packed card, that includes Mackenzie Dern, Milana Dudieva, and Janaisa Morandin, starts at 8:00pm ET.
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