If there’s one thing Amanda Ribas is never short of, it’s energy. The infectiously positive Brazilian won fight fans over quickly with her positive attitude but, as with any fighter, the results have to follow the personality, and through her first four UFC fights, she delivered four victories.
Ribas seemed primed to break into the strawweight title picture, but she ran into a few sharp strikes from Marina Rodriguez that stopped her in her tracks. That, paired with a bout with COVID-19 that pulled her out of a matchup with Angela Hill, has kept Ribas out of action since that January defeat. She finally has her chance to get back to the winner’s circle, however, as she is set to fight Virna Jandiroba at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, and Ribas is bringing with her a slightly altered mindset.
“I learned we can’t stop,” Ribas told UFC.com. “If you stop, not just in the fight but life, too, somebody takes your opportunity and gets the win, and that happened with me. I was winning the fight, and then, she (Rodriguez) got the perfect punch in the perfect time and won the fight. I learned that for this fight, for my life, I can’t stop. I need to always be active, be a smart girl with fire in my eyes, and I know now I have that fire more than the last time.”
Of course, as Ribas describes that shifted mentality, she is laughing. Not because she isn’t taking it seriously, but because she just can’t wait to fight again. She even admits her palms are sweating during the interview just out of pure excitement.
Ribas and her team arrived in Abu Dhabi a full week before her October 30 fight to get adjusted to the time and weather in the United Arab Emirates, and she has taken full advantage of the time. As she trained for this bout, she believes she has a better understanding of the fight game and the reality that, in every fight, somebody has to lose, and all she can do is put in the requisite work to be in the best position possible.
More than the result, though, Ribas is just excited to make the walk to the Octagon once again. She jokes that when she hears the crowd going crazy, she has to remind her legs to work correctly but, at the end of the day, Ribas knows this is exactly what she wants to be doing with her life.
“I know I am born to be a fighter because there is a time in my life that I stopped fighting,” she said. “I was doing just ballet and a lot of dance, and I know I was feeling something, my heart was feeling something, ‘Oh hey, wake up. You need to do something,’ and when I fought again after my dance classes, I knew it.”
In Jandiroba, Ribas has quite the dance partner. Her fellow Brazilian is a jiu jitsu wizard with 13 of her 17 pro wins coming via submission. Given Ribas’ judo and jiu jitsu pedigree, it’d make sense for the two to engage in some entertaining grappling scrambles. That chess match is complicated by the striking aspect, and both fighters have shown a wiliness to stand and bang.
Ribas said she is ready for whichever type of fight Jandiroba brings, and the mutual respect is there in spades.
“She is a huge fighter,” Ribas said. “Not just a BJJ fighter. She’s training a lot of boxing. She has a great heart, too, and I know that, but all I can tell you, I want to win.”
On top of winning, she also wants to put on an entertaining fight for the fans in Ethiad Arena. For as much as fighters embraced the crowdless fights in the UFC APEX throughout the last year-and-a-half, there’s nothing quite like an arena in full voice during a quality fight. Ribas hopes to do that, and she believes in this opportunity as a bounce-back one in her young career. At just 28, Ribas is on the cusp of another breakout. First, she has to get past Jandiroba – no easy task. Then, however, the higher profile fights will almost certainly come in spades. The strawweight division is like that.
Ribas, naturally, embraces that all with a wide smile and cackling laugh. More than anything, she wants to make good on all her training, and doing that will be the most satisfying way to handle the task at hand on October 30.
“My best performance is doing my best because it’s so frustrating when you go to the cage and you can’t do your game like, ‘I trained so good,’ and then I go to the cage, and my jab doesn’t go well,” she said. “For me, I think, the best performance will make the public crazy. For me, being here in Abu Dhabi, in UFC 267 with an audience, I know the people will scream. Even if they don’t scream, I will scream in my mind, and it will be awesome.”
Don’t miss the ESPN+ special presentation of UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira on Saturday October 30th, 2021. Please note special broadcast times — prelims begin at 10:30am ET/7:30am PT, with the two-title fight main card starting at 2pm ET/11am PT.
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