As of UFC Vegas 35 this Saturday, Vanessa Demopoulos can finally say she’s a UFC fighter. And that, “Lil Monster” tells us, feels like home.
“It feels like home. Honestly. It feels like I’ve worked really hard for this,” Demopoulos told Cageside Press just days out from her promotional debut at UFC Vegas 35. There, the strawweight will move up a weight class to take on JJ Aldrich on short notice at 125lbs. “I’ve thought about this, I’ve talked about this, I’ve manifested this, I’ve trained for this, I’ve been preparing for this, and here I am. And getting here is just the first step of continuing on my own journey, but this feels so good.”
Getting to the UFC was no walk in the park, mind you. A former strawweight champ in LFA, Demopoulos had a rough 2020 that saw her lose on Dana White’s Contender Series, then lose her LFA title in an all-out war with current UFC fighter Lupita Godinez.
2020 taught her a lot, with that in mind. Including that “I do belong here, because I’ve done all the other steps in my life to get here,” said Demopoulos. “2020 showed me a lot of things, a lot of holes that I needed to fill the gaps into. On every single level. I’m really grateful for the downfalls that I’ve had, as unfortunate as they were. But life is life, I took so much away from them that it made me that much better.”
2021 has started out much better for Vanessa Demopoulos. In March, she scored a highlight reel knockout of Cynthia Arceo at LFA 103 in just 37 seconds. Then, with teammate Tracy Cortez forced out of this weekend’s UFC Vegas 35 card, Demopoulos threw her name in the hat — and was chosen to take Cortez’s place against Aldrich.
“It could not have worked out better for me emotionally, getting this particular opponent, for that particular reason,” admitted Demopoulos. “Because I felt like I had already been studying JJ. I was already comfortable with the mindset of how she fights, the psychology and all that”
“It also felt comfortable for me to be able to accept this fight because I was already in a fight camp,” she added. Demopoulos, in fact, had expected to compete one day earlier than she is now scheduled to, at LFA 114 on August 27. “I’m already studying this particular opponent, not for this particular reason, but it just worked out so beautifully.”
“Life really puts you in some amazing places sometime, for different reasons,” she noted.
Watch our full interview with Vanessa Demopoulos above. UFC Vegas 35 takes place this Saturday, August 28 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.