Commerce, CA — For UFC strawweight Tabatha Ricci, “Baby Shark” wasn’t a nickname she chose to piggyback on the hit song a few years back.
Rather, it’s one she was given, as the smallest girl in jiu-jitsu class week in and week out. One who swam (or rolled if you prefer) with the bigger fish on the men’s side.
“I think they don’t like it because the music is so annoying. You hear it one time and you’re singing it in your head until you go to sleep. It’s crazy,” Ricci said of the split reaction to the nickname. “But my coach at my jiu-jitsu gym gave me the name, because all the time I show up in the gym, I’m the smallest girl. And then I train [with] only the guys. That’s why he said, ‘oh, the baby shark.'”
Ricci (6-1) will return to the octagon this May, where she’s been paired up with fellow Brazilian Polyana Viana.
“She’s a great fighter. She’s been in the UFC I think for four years, she’s famous, I think the UFC loves her, so it’s going to be a good look for me,” Ricci told Cageside Press when asked about the match-up, backstage at Friday’s LFA 127 event in Commerce, California. “I think she has great striking, very good jiu-jitsu, so I’m super excited for this fight, and to be able to show one more time to the world all my improvements and everything.”
Before she gets to her own fight, Ricci will be supporting teammate Piera Rodriguez, who makes her promotional debut at UFC 273 next month.
Being there for her teammate, “I think it’s super important for me and for her, because we have been training a lot for a long time, and I have been helping her for this training camp,” said Ricci. “So I’m super happy to be there and support her for her UFC debut.”
Watch our full interview with Tabatha Ricci (and try not to sing Baby Shark while doing so) above. Ricci will face Polyana Viana at the UFC’s May 21, 2022 Fight Night event in Las Vegas, Nevada.