Jessica Andrade is three days shy of stepping into the cage for the most important fight of her career. At UFC 211 this Saturday, the Brazilian will face UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event in Dallas, Texas. At age 25, it might have been natural for her to feel a bit of pressure going into a fight of such magnitude. The title challenger, though, has had special support along the way: her fiancée, Fernanda Andrade.
Without ever having participated so effectively in Jessica’s camp before, Fernanda traveled to the host city at the start of fight week for the first time. A time in which athletes suffer the most from weight cuts and commitments to the organization. In a conversation with AG. Fight, the biologist spoke a little about the backstage happenings before UFC 211 and also explained her main function within the team to be able to help Jessica with the psychological side of the fight game.
“It’s a very big strain for the whole team”, Fernanda Andrade said. “It’s a very important fight, the most important one in Jessica’s career. I try to block myself and not show so much anxiety and worry because I’m the one who’s with her most of the time. Before I get to her, they come to me and I can distinguish things. At this moment, I leave her head as free as possible from negative thoughts and tension so that she can just concentrate on the last training sessions, the weight loss and the fight that is about to take place.”
“I try to have her remain very calm and things that would reach her, I solve them before she even gets aware of them. Me and the master [Gilliard] Paraná, we want her to just train and focus to be a ble to make a great fight.”
Following the preparation of her future wife for the first time, the biologist thinks it’s much more helpful to be there the day before the fight rather than to watch Jessica on TV, as she has done on other occasions. Also, of course, she tries to reassure “Bate Estaca” in times of tension.
“It’s really cool and I keep following the backstage happenings. It’s a lot different [and] it’s much better to be here than in Brazil. In a fight like this, I think my presence was indispensable. There comes a time when Jessica can’t even sleep with such anxiety and that’s when I can reassure her I’m always on her side. It’s a special thing to be here and participate in this dream, [which] is not only hers, it’s ours. I’m here to bring this belt and fulfill that dream.”
After the fight, Jessica and Fernanda will remain in the US until May 23 for engagements with the UFC and local press. Only after that will they return to Brazil, where they will fulfill more obligations on the official agenda of the athlete. The only certainty in the couple’s head is scheduled for August this year.
“The only plan, win or lose, is that we’re going to get married. That’s inevitable. I think that after the belt comes, we’ll think about it…”