While 2020 was a year to forget for most of the world, it was a memorable one for UFC women’s strawweight Amanda Ribas.
The Brazilian went 2-0 in the calendar year after a unanimous decision win over Randa Markos at UFC Brasilia in March before a first-round submission win over Paige VanZant in their high-profile matchup at UFC 251 in July.
As a result, she is now in the top 10 of the strawweight rankings and ahead of her upcoming UFC 257 fight with Marina Rodriguez on January 23, she reflected on what was a breakout year.
“It was a crazy year,” Ribas told MMA Fighting. “It was different because the UFC [in] Brasilia was the first event without the public and then I fought on the Island—which was crazy and beautiful. It was crazy in a bad way because of the pandemic, but it was good for me.
“I’m blessed to have those fights on my record, I’m blessed to have my training, my [training] partners, my health. So it’s been an amazing year for me.”
Ribas was originally set to face Carla Esparza at UFC 256 before being slated to fight Michelle Waterson at UFC 257. Both fights didn’t end up panning out with Rodriguez instead stepping in for the injured Waterson.
And Ribas is now training with her last opponent in VanZant in preparation for Rodriguez. VanZant would depart the UFC following her defeat to Ribas and is now signed with Bare Knuckle FC (BKFC).
“It’s really different because my last camp was to fight against her, and now she’s helping me in this camp, and I’m helping her for her [BKFC] boxing,” Ribas said. “It’s cool. It’s amazing and we can show everybody that it’s professional. I’m not mad at her, she’s not mad at me. It’s professional.
“If she can help me, yes she will. If I can help her, I will help her. We are martial artists. We’re artists, not just crazy people throwing punches at each other. We are athletes. It’s amazing.”
As for VanZant signing with BKFC, it surprised many in the combat sports world. However, Ribas believes only certain kinds of fighters can compete in bare knuckle boxing and VanZant is one of them.
Not to mention that she will also be paid very lucratively.
“She’s a really smart girl,” Ribas added. “She has a really big heart and, I think for her, it will be good because no one who has a weak heart, or is a little scared, can fight like that without gloves. For her, I think it will be a big step to get money because they pay her really good. I think it will be really good.”
Do you think Ribas is a future champion?