Jessica Andrade still dreams of UFC strawweight gold but has plan B in store

Having lost to Joanna Jedrzejczyk last May at UFC 211 in an effort to win the promotion’s strawweight belt, Jéssica Andrade has shaken off the dust and reinstalled the UFC belt at the top of her bucket list. However, the 25-year-old now knows that she needs to evolve in order to reach that goal.

Owner of an aggressive style and based on its almost extraordinary strength for the category, Jessica aims to evolve technically to duel against the best athletes in the world. And as the exchange of blows on foot yields fruits in the octagon, nothing more natural than to make an exchange to strengthen this area.

“My coach always talks about going to Thailand […]. I can take a hit and I don’t feel [it], I always keep moving forward”, Andrade told reporters at last week’s UFC 212 event in Rio de Janeiro. “Improving my muay thai, improving my footwork in the octagon, that will help me a lot. It’s going to help a lot for my career.”

In addition to a certain technical evolution, the Brazilian said that she needs to improve her confidence. After all, feeling that she respected her opponent more than necessary at UFC 211, Andrade acknowledged she chose to slow the pace early because she was afraid to run out of gas in the later rounds.

“[Defeat] is part of the game, it’s learning, it’s up and down”, Andrade said “There will be setbacks and it will never be just [about] winning and losing […]. I’ll soon have another opportunity to fight for the belt. In the second, third and fourth rounds, if I had the confidence that my gas tank wouldn’t be empty, I would’ve won.”

Even if things don’t work out the way she envisions them at strawweight, the Brazilian has other doors open for her future. After all, when she was signed by the UFC in 2013, Andrade competed in the bantamweight division, twenty pounds above the limit of her new home at strawweight.

“When I fought at bantamweight, I said that I wouldn’t go down to strawweight because I would suffer a lot. But now I am at strawweight and I can’t say it’s impossible. Of the fighters [at strawweight] I am one of those that suffer the least because I don’t need to do a [salt] bath [for my weight cut]. I’m always very well at the time of the fight. But if opportunity arises for a special fight at bantamweight, why not?”

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