Claudia Gadelha knows what she wants, which is UFC gold. However, she knows following her win at UFC 212, she knows that it wasn’t time for a new title shot just yet.
Gadelha (15-2) is coming off a quick submission win over former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 212. Prior to that fight, she had beaten Cortney Casey, which puts her at 2-0 since a failed five-round title beat down by current champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk at last July’s TUF 23 Finale.
Now, she is set to take on Jessica Andrade at UFC Fight Night 117. With this upcoming bout and possibility of winning the bout, Gadelha is hoping that this one will do the trick.
“I think that, getting past Jessica, I won’t have anything else to prove to anyone,” Gadelha told MMAjunkie. “I had two close fights with Joanna. If I don’t deserve that title shot, I don’t think anyone else does.”
A second title fight with the champion wouldn’t necessarily mean a trilogy with JedrzejczykThe promotion has already scheduled the UFC 217 bout between Jedrzejczyk, and Rose Namajunas could see the UFC’s 125-pound belt changing hands on Nov. 4.
“I think Rose doesn’t stand a chance against Joanna,” Gadelha said. I’m coming off a win, so I’d rather be fighting someone who was also coming off a win,” Gadelha said.
Gadelha had two things that she wanted to do on her mind. One of them was to stay active and the second thing was to fight in Japan, which she will accomplish.
“All the respect, the hierarchy – that’s very important to me,” Gadelha said. “I wanted to fight in Japan one day. And since (the UFC doesn’t) go there every day – or even every year – I wanted to be on this card, so I asked for it.”
Despite her desire to compete, Gadelha had to wait for the promotion to line her up with her next opponent. With six weeks to go before the event, no one had accepted the challenge. Thus, she had to take action and book a fight for herself via social media.
“It’s a soap opera at this point, but I think Carla Esparza and I should fight,” Gadelha said. “I think this fight should happen. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. I also even thought about Felice (Herrig), who’s coming off a few wins. I did want to fight someone coming off a win. But then nobody said yes, only Jessica.”
“I don’t know what goes on with her,” Gadelha said. “I don’t think she’s professional. I think she fights more for the money. She has no goals in the division. She was the champion once, but I think she got very lax. She fights for the sake of it. She doesn’t really want anything, she has no objectives in there.”
“I’m waking up when I would be waking up there, sleeping when I should be sleeping there, and training when I should be fighting there,” Gadelha said. “This is what’s been very productive in my training: I can move around my coaches and the people who help out in my camp so it all revolves around me.”
UFC Fight Night 117 takes place on Friday, September 23, 2017 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event will be the fifth that the promotion has hosted in Saitama, and first since UFC Fight Night: Barnett vs. Nelson in September 2015.
“Jessica has some good physical characteristics: She’s very strong, she’s got a lot of heart, and she moves forward against her opponents,” Gadelha said. “I think we have similar physical features, as I’m also one of the strongest in the division.
“But I don’t think she’s a very technical fighter. I think she lacks a lot in that department, and that’s where I have to work.”