Former UFC Strawweight Title Challenger Claudia Gadelha Retires

Claudia Gadelha, UFC 239
Claudia Gadelha Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

One of the most consistent names in the UFC’s 115lb division has retired.

Claudia Gadelha, who twice fought Joanna Jedrzejczyk — the second time with the UFC women’s strawweight championship on the line — has informed the promotion of her retirement. News of the her exit from active competition was first reported by MMA Fighting. That’s after Twitter account UFC Roster Watch, an automated service that monitors changes to the UFC fighter database, noted that she had been removed from the roster.

Gadelha (18-5), 33, had not competed since a November 2020 loss to China’s Yan Xiaonan. That setback snapped a two-fight winning streak for the Brazilian.

“Caludinha” entered the UFC in 2014, appearing in the promotion’s first ever women’s strawweight fight against Tina Lähdemäki. She won the bout via a unanimous decision, improving to 12-0 and moving on to a bout with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, which she would lose in a close split decision.

Prior to her entrance into the UFC, Gadelha had been signed to take part in The Ultimate Fighter 20, which officially introduced the women’s 115lb weight class. After being signed outright and falling to 1-1 in the promotion with her loss to Jedrzejczyk, Gadelha earned a win over Jessica Aguilar, then served as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 23 opposite “Joanna Champion.”

The rivalry between the pair was arguably one of the more intense among later Ultimate Fighter seasons. For many, Gadelha became the hero, with the champion coming off as the “bad guy.”

In their rematch in 2016 at the TUF 23 finale, with Jedrzejczyk’s 115lb title on the line, Gadelha again fell short, losing a five-round unanimous decision. From there, she would go on to post a 5-3 record to close out her career, earning wins over ex-UFC champ Carla Esparza, former Invicta FC champ Angela Hill, and earning a Performance of the Night bonus for her submission of fellow strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Gadelha also shared in two Fight of the Night bonuses during her UFC run, in her second fight with Jedrzejczyk, and against another women’s strawweight champ, Jessica Andrade, in a non-title affair.