NTEROI, Brazil — Jessica Andrade turned down a fight with UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in late 2016 to get one last win before finally feeling ready for a shot at the gold, and her time has come.
With her UFC Fight Night 104 win over Angela Hill, which also earned her a $50,000 check for the fight of the night, Andrade was able to bring more coaches and training partners, and also buy an Octagon for her gym, and finally feel confident enough to take on the champion.
Andrade and Jedrzejczyk will collide for the strawweight championship on May 13 in Dallas, and the Brazilian striker, who is managed by Jedrzejczyk’s former agent and used to have a close relationship with the Polish star, is using one of Jedrzejczyk’s gifts as she prepares for the biggest fight of her life at UFC 211.
“She already gave me several gifts,” Andrade said during a media lunch in Niteroi, Brazil. “She gave me a glove that I use it to train thinking that I’ll punch her [laughs]. When it’s time to fight, we’re professionals. It’s our jobs and careers. Respect must always exist. It’s not because I’m fighting her that she’s my enemy, that I want to kill her. She’s my opponent and I’ll do my best. I want to win, but there’s respect and friendship.”
Andrade bought a big Octagon to the gym, Parana Vale Tudo, but admits that a smaller cage would be an advantage for her against the champion.
“The more space you give Joanna, the better for her,” Andrade said. “I work better when I close the distance. Whatever the Octagon or place we are, I’ll be well prepared. She can run as much as she want, but she won’t be able to run eventually, and then I’ll catch her.
“Watching her fight with ‘Claudinha’ (Gadelha) and Karolina (Kowalkiewicz), you can see many flaws,” she continued. “If you’re versatile, and get punched in the face, but still go forward, that frustrates Joanna, she doesn’t know what to do. She won by decision, it was one of her toughest fights, but ‘Claudinha’ was able to knock her down with a jab, and if I have the opportunity to get my hands ready and the right timing, I can knock her out.”
Andrade knows that her life and career will change completely if she’s successful in her quest to win the other women’s belt.
“It’s like the saying, with great power comes great responsibility,” “Bate-Estaca” said. “Get the belt, bring it, and, most importantly, keep it, which is the hardest. Train twice as hard, train outside of Brazil is needed, bring people from other countries, because that’s my job. From the belt on, everything changes.”
Source:: mma fighting