Claudia Gadelha made a lot of noise last night (Sat., June 3, 2017) at UFC 212 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when she submitted women’s strawweight contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz in just over three minutes (highlights here). It was Gadelha’s first finish inside of the Octagon and a victory that puts her right back into the title mix.
“I consider myself the best fighter in the division,” Gadelha said during UFC 212’s post-fight press conference (watch here). “But I think a few things are missing that I needed to do to perform well inside of the Octagon. And that’s why I decided to change everything in my life. It has not been easy to leave my comfort zone. Ten years living in Rio, I went abroad alone, nobody there. Training with different trainers.
“It’s very, very tough, but I got to a point in my career where I felt I needed to improve and to become the fighter that I wanted to be, and that I desired to be.”
While Gadelha’s performance was impressive and her most dominant to date, the Brazilian contender has still lost to current UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk twice. But according to Gadelha, she’s the best option in the division to challenge the Polish titleholder again.
“It doesn’t bother me at all to talk about that,” Gadelha said about her loss to Jedrzejczyk 11 months ago. “We’re in a sport where you can win and you can lose at anytime. Of course, we always want positive results, but we can’t always get that.
“And about my two defeats to Joanna, I only believe there is one. There’s two on paper, but if you were to analyze the fight, I did not lose that first fight to her. The second fight I really did lose, but if you were to look technically at it, I have better technique, and better MMA technique. I’m not a better striker, but I’m a better MMA fighter than Joanna. But I trained incorrectly to fight with her.”
The 28-year-old Brazilian fighter believes her change in camp and preparation will be the difference in a potential trilogy fight with Joanna.
“I killed myself,” Gadelha explained. “I trained for 17 weeks in my camp, killing my body. I was destroyed, I couldn’t even stand up. I was killing my body. I’m that kind of Brazilian. I never give up, and I always give my best at all times. And sometimes giving your best is not the right thing. You have to follow the recipe or it’s not going to come out right. That’s exactly what I did in the second fight against Joanna.
“How do I see myself in the division today, I believe I’ve got the No. 1 ranking, at least on paper. Joanna is the champion. I have all the tools to beat her, but I needed to do what I did to reinvent myself, to be able to improve and to find what was missing in my game, as far as my cardio, my patience.”
We will see what more Gadelha has to do in order for UFC to book her another title fight in the 115-pound division, but she may only be one more impressive performance away from locking that right down.
For complete UFC 212 results and coverage click here.