Amanda Lemos is taking her second career Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) main event very seriously.
This weekend (Sat., Nov. 5, 2022) at UFC Vegas 64, Lemos will battle fellow top Strawweight contender, the No. 3-ranked Marina Rodriguez. Before the bout was made official, arguments erupted within the mixed martial arts (MMA) community that Rodriguez should be the next one challenging division champion, Carla Esparza. Instead, that opportunity has gone to Zhang Weili, who faces Esparza next weekend (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) at UFC 281 in Madison Square Garden.
Rodriguez also believes she’s earned her shot and stated that this match up with Lemos doesn’t make much sense outside of just staying active and cementing her claim to a title bout. If Lemos can pull off the upset, she sees herself being right in the mix as well.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for me,” Lemos told MMA Fighting. “If it doesn’t make sense for her, she shouldn’t have taken this fight. She turned down a fight previously [versus Zhang], a fight that would have been crucial for her to go to the belt, and she turned it down. That’s on her — I have nothing to do with that. People saying [fighting me] doesn’t make sense — nobody forced her to take the fight. I’m a professional, I’m here.”
Lemos’ last main event appearance came in April 2022 against another Brazilian standout, Jessica Andrade. Unfortunately for the current No. 7-seeded contender, Lemos suffered a first round standing arm-triangle choke defeat (watch highlights).
The 35-year-old has rebounded since that loss, submitting Michelle Waterson-Gomez via second round guillotine in July 2022 at UFC Long Island (watch highlights). In the end, Lemos is just looking to make the best of what’s presented to her.
“If we were in opposite positions [in the ranking] and I felt well enough to fight, I would accept [fighting Rodriguez],” Lemos said. “I’m not going to wait years to fight for the belt. The belt is something I want, it’s a goal, but my main goal is to provide for my family. I’m here to fight whoever agrees to fight me. That’s on her and her team, I won’t criticize that because I know about my life and what I go through, but saying it doesn’t make sense is not cool because nobody forced her to take this fight. I didn’t call her out, I was offered this fight.”
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