Virna Jandiroba is closer than ever to her ultimate goal.
A unanimous decision win over perennial top contender, Marina Rodriguez, launched the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) wizard up the ranks at UFC 288 this past month (May 6, 2023). At No. 6 in the promotion’s Strawweight division, Jandiroba is back on a winning streak and set to attempt to hand The Ultimate Fighter 23 (TUF winner), Tatiana Suarez, her first career loss at UFC Nashville on Aug. 5, 2023.
“It would be wonderful beating her. That would prove a lot,” Jandiroba told MMA Mania. “I do believe we have similar styles and game plans. Maybe not the same, but they complement each other. If I beat her, since she’s a highly [rated] prospect, that would prove that I deserve to be there and more than that, that I deserve the title shot.”
Suarez (9-0) made her long-awaited return in Feb. 2023 after an extended injury layoff. The Strawweight hopeful made a pit stop at Flyweight, submitting Montana De La Rosa via second round guillotine (watch highlights) before setting her sights back on 115 pounds.
Like Suarez, Vandiroba, 35, has also been a future title contender since she arrived in the promotion as the undefeated 14-0 (now 19-3) Invicta Fighting Championships champion. Her UFC debut was a big one not only from a divisional standpoint but experience-wise, taking on two-time UFC titleholder, Carla Esparza.
Jandiroba was bested by “Cookie Monster” in an ultra-competitive unanimous decision, but believes in the long run that the fight was invaluable. Against another extremely talented wrestler in Suarez, “Carcara” feels she’ll only be better prepared.
“It was actually very important for me,” Jandiroba said of her Esparza loss. “When I fought Carla, I took the fight 20 days before, and under those specific conditions, I had a good fight, but I did learn a lot.
“I didn’t know how to fight wrestlers at that time,” she continued. “I had the chance to fight [Kanako] Murata after that and during this time, I immersed myself in a wrestler mindset for a while so I could learn how they think and how they perform. So, I don’t have this trauma anymore and I’m ready to fight a top-level wrestler.”