Jessica Andrade has always been a serious threat in whatever division she’s competed in, but the Andrade we saw on Saturday night at UFC 228 seems to have leveled up violence-wise through serious focus on her Muay Thai skills. It took her just under two minutes to absolutely smash the durable Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and now fans are wondering whether she could do the same to women’s strawweight champ Rose Namajunas.
”I got the knockout and that devastating win,” Andrade said during the post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “Which I’m sure leaves no doubt that I can be next to fight for the belt.”
MMA math has Andrade looking pretty good considering Kowalkiewicz beat Namajunas via split decision back in 2016. But the new top contender for the title doesn’t think that means much.
“Rose is a very versatile athlete,” she continued. “She’s got good striking, she’s evolved a lot since she fought Karolina. But I believe I have great chances of winning and becoming champion, both in the striking and on the ground.”
“I’ve improved a lot. I think after tonight’s knockout, for sure it got me one step closer to being able to fight for this belt and show people that I can be a great striker, a great jiu-jitsu fighter and that I’m going to be a lot of work for these girls in the division.”
If Andrade gets her way, she’ll face Namajunas at UFC 232, the year end card that already features a superfight between featherweight champ Cris Cyborg and bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.
“Who doesn’t want to fight in the last UFC event of the year?” Andrade said (apparently cutting weight during Christmas isn’t a big concern to her). “I asked for this fight for Dec. 29. We’ll see what Dana and the UFC have planned for me. But this fight has to happen. I just want it to happen.”