“It’s in our hands right now. We have a trilogy to make pretty soon.” UFC Fight Island 6 flyweight Jessica Andrade believes rubber match with Rose Namajunas is on the horizon.
Jessica Andrade debuts in her third weight class in the UFC this weekend when she takes on Katlyn Chookagian. Thanks to a late shake-up to the UFC Fight Island 6 card, the flyweight bout is now the evening’s co-main event.
Timing is everything in the fight business. On Saturday, Andrade will arrive in a 125lb weight class devoid of marquee challengers at the moment. Champ Valentina Shevchenko has dominated the division since her own arrival in 2018, defending her belt on three separate occasions. The last truly high profile opponent she faced, however, was Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who she defeated to claim the then-vacant flyweight title.
Asked about the decision to move down to flyweight, particularly now, Andrade told Cageside Press during a UFC Fight Island 6 virtual media day this week that “I think the fight with Rose showed me a lot of things, but really the main reason for going up to this weight was the weight cut. Since my fight with Zhang Weili, I’ve had some problems cutting weight.”
So the former strawweight champion told her coach that she wanted to try things out at flyweight and see how she felt. “I think I’m going to feel better, I think it’s going to be better for me and a lot easier,” Andrade suggested. “I don’t have to think about cutting weight then have to worry about that on Fight Week.”
The opportunity to face Valentina Shevchenko for the title is obviously alluring. “That’s something I thought of before,” admitted Andrade. “When I became the champion [at 115lbs], it’s something that I wanted to do, I wanted to Valentina for her belt.” So when the opportunity to fight at flyweight came up, the Brazilian jumped at the chance.
“Valentina is obviously someone that everyone wants to beat. She’s a great champion,” said Andrade, noting that “Bullet” has defeated a “who’s who” of women’s MMA. “I had the opportunity to face her before, and it didn’t happen because I signed with the UFC. But who knows, maybe I get a chance to finally face her here in the UFC.”
But despite that, “Bate Estaca” is also focused on another big name opponent: Rose Namajunas.
Andrade defeated “Thug Rose” to win the UFC strawweight championship in May 2019. With an emphatic slam KO no less. She then dropped the belt to Zhang Weili, then lost a split decision in a rematch with Namajunas earlier this year.
“For sure. I don’t think that’s going to take long to happen,” Andrade answered when asked about the rubber match. “Rose is going to be the next to challenge Zhang Weili for the belt at 115. Winning [against] Katlyn this week, I’m going to become number one in the rankings at 125. Why not move down to 115 again and have a trilogy? It’s in our hands right now. We have a trilogy to make pretty soon.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 6 virtual media day scrum with Jessica Andrade above.