Former UFC strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha feels like her best fighting days are still ahead of her in the Octagon.
Scheduled to take on Randa Markos in July, the Brazilian tells Combate that fans can expect a more evolved and matured version of herself when compared to the one who last stepped into the Octagon back in December 2018 and dropped an unanimous decision to Nina Ansaroff.
“People will see a much smarter Claudia,” Gadelha said. “I think I’m more focused on the strategy aspect, the one about understanding the evolution of the sport. MMA is evolving so much, I’m from the days when you’d step into the Octagon to brawl, so this transition has been very important to me.”
Undefeated before her Octagon debut, with 12 wins under her name and no losses back in 2014, Gadelha would only know defeat when she took on Joanna Jedrzejczyk in December of the same year, dropping a close split decision in the process. Now, with some more experience under her belt and living in the United States for the past two years, Claudia explains how she began to mature as a fighter.
“I left Brazil two years ago, I arrived in the United States without knowing where I would train,” Gadelha said. “I tried many places and, at first, I fit in very well in Albuquerque, but I was unhappy in my personal life. Then I moved to Las Vegas and was happy with my personal life, but still searching for a place to train. That’s what people don’t understand. Fans, viewers who are looking in from the outside, they want to see results, but they don’t know what an athlete is going through. I’ve been going through a major revolution in my life. Of course you work thinking about the result, which is to win, but a loss is a part of this process.”
When it comes to her upcoming match against Randa Markos, a wrestler, Gadelha believes it’s a pairing that favors herself. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt with seven submissions wins to her name, Claudia feels like, because of her opponent’s background, the fight will eventually hit the mat, which would put herself in a comfortable position.
“We had three opponents, Randa was the one who accepted the fight first,” Gadelha said. “I think we match up very well, because she’s a wrestler. I’m used to girls running at me all the time, avoiding my jiu-jitsu and grappling. Surely Randa won’t avoid a grappling fight, she’ll pursue it and I love that. But I also think I’m really good standing up, I’m a very good MMA fighter. I have lots of experience. I began when I was 18 and now I’m 30. I think I the level of maturity as an athlete, I learned to take of myself and of my life as an athlete. I think I have many advantages coming into this fight.”
Claudia Gadelha is expected to take on Randa Markos at UFC 239, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 6. The card will be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between the champion, Jon Jones, and challenger Thiago Santos.
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