“Thank God it’s time to fight again. I was getting worried that no one wanted to fight me.”
That was the sentiment of top UFC strawweight contender Jessica Andrade, who finally returns to the Octagon at Sunday’s UFC on FOX 28 card in Orlando, Florida, after a long break since her September win over Claudia Gadelha.
In an interview with MMA Fighting ahead of her co-main event bout in Orlando, Andrade said she was originally scheduled to face Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC Belem on Feb. 3 in Brazil. In fact, she says she even signed a bout agreement, but Kowalkiewicz “changed her mind.”
“Bate-Estaca” is back to action three weeks after the original plan, and is excited to meet Tecia Torres in a fight that will likely determine who’s next for the title against the winner of UFC 223’s Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
”I’m happy that I’m fighting Tecia,” Andrade said. “She’s coming off three wins, is fast, moves well, and is as aggressive as me. I think I’m better prepared than when I fought Joanna, and I will definitely put on a show for everybody.”
One of the shortest fighters in the women’s strawweight division, Andrade is happy that she will finally have a height advantage in a UFC contest, and expects it to become a big factor in the fight.
”I’m very happy that I’m fighting someone shorter than me,” Andrade said with a laugh. “I always fight girls that are taller than me, so I’m always trying to find the distance, closing the distance. Tecia is a little shorter than me, and that will help me a lot. I fight better when I face shorter opponents. I can see my opponents and what they do more clearly, it’s easier to find the distance. It will be a fun fight to watch.”
”I’m well trained, and I might get a knockout in this fight,” she added. “She’s tough, fast, can take a punch, but I’m one of the strongest girls in this division. I can finish her. I have to catch her when she moving forward. I heard from people that have trained with her that I’m way stronger than her, more aggressive, so that little advantage might help me.”
Andrade was hoping to get another chance at the belt after dominating Gadelha in September, but those plans fell through after Namajunas stopped Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217. With the rematch booked for April, “Bate-Estaca” says it doesn’t make sense to give a title shot to anyone else.
”I’m working for that,” Andrade said. “Since they booked that rematch, the winner of my fight with Tecia will fight for the belt next. There’s no other girl that makes sense, really. Just win the fight. I have to go there, run through her, and then fight for the belt.
”I’m not the type of person that asks for things. I always wait for my moment, step by step, but getting good win on this one, why not? It’s time to fight for the belt again. I’m ready, at the top of my career, and it’s the right moment. I’ll definitely get a good win, and yes, I’ll ask for the belt.”