Women’s strawweight contender Amanda Ribas has gone on an impressive run in the UFC. Since her arrival in the promotion in 2019, Ribas has earned four straight victories over some notable names in the division. Her most recent win came against former UFC star Paige VanZant, who she submitted with an armbar in the first round at UFC 251.
The always jovial, but still dangerous Ribas seemed to have her star power grow even more after the VanZant fight, so it was not surprising to see her climb up the rankings and onto the radars of both future and former title challengers at 115 pounds.
With that in mind, the next fight for Ribas is set to be an important one. It was supposed to come against former women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza at UFC 256. It was a fight Ribas actually called for, but it was unable to be finalized on the targeted date, so she was left in need of an opponent. Ribas briefly got another one in Michelle Waterson, but that too fell apart and another opponent was needed.
Eventually, Ribas got matched up with No. 8 ranked Marina Rodriguez, who is on her own solid run. As chaotic as these opponent changes have been for Ribas, she is happy to still be able to fight another top name. She spoke about this on a recent episode of What the Heck hosted by Mike Heck of MMA Fighting.
“I don’t know what happened, but I was really excited to fight against [Esparza],” said Ribas. “But it didn’t happen at that time, and then I was supposed to fight Michelle Waterson, but that didn’t happen again. It was bad for me, but now I will fight against Marina, so I just I’m just thinking about her because that will definitely be a really important fight for my career.”
The shift from Esparza to Waterson to Rodriguez may sound frustrating, but for Ribas, it was nothing more than a slight shift in gameplan to accommodate for the stylistic changes her new opponent brings. That was the only real change Ribas had to make because her goals heading into the fight remained the same: win and leave people talking.
The second goal is especially significant because Ribas will be on the same card headlined by the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. As has been the case whenever he serves as one half of the main event, McGregor typically brings in a lot of attention on that night. All of that buzz for the main event is great, but Ribas believes her fight has the potential to steal the show.
“I study a lot [on] my opponents,” said Ribas. “I watch her first fight, her second fight, her third fight, so I can see she is getting better and better. And I hope in this fight against me that she comes with the best version of her because I want to have a really big fight.
“We will fight on the card that McGregor will fight with Dustin, so we need to do a really big fight. I don’t want to be just one fighter on the McGregor card. I want people to say, ‘Did you see that fight Amanda did against Marina? It was a big fight.’ I want the people talking about my fight. Not just, ‘Oh, they fought on the McGregor card.’ I want to [steal the show].”
Ribas plans on having another breakout performance at UFC 257, so she wants to put a stamp on her fight against Rodriguez by getting a finish.
“I hope I can win this fight. I am asking God to give me his blessing because I am training so hard. I hope it can be a TKO or a submission. It doesn’t matter which way. I want the win and then watch the [McGregor-Poirier] fight while eating my chocolate.”
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