After facing a steep test in her UFC debut up a weight class, Vanessa Demopoulos got a chance to make her real debut in her real weight class – strawweight. She did not disappoint. In less than half a round, she snatched the arm of Silvana Gomez Juarez and snagged her first UFC win.
However, that first ever UFC win paled in comparison to and accomplishment that happened shortly after. A decade into her jiu jitsu journey, Demopoulos earned her black belt and it was on a different level for her.
“Huge life accomplishment, man,” Demopoulos said. “You wanna talk about milestones. I feel like people get married and people get their black belt – that’s like there. That’s where I’m rating getting my black belt.”
While the black belt is a nice symbol, she doesn’t feel like it changes how anyone sees her game when it comes to the cage. This weekend, she’ll take on former Invicta FC champion Jinh Yu Frey. Black belt aside, she wouldn’t expect anyone to want to hit the mat with her based on her recent performances.
“I wouldn’t expect someone to want to go to the ground with me, especially because I’ve been know to submit people, finish people, put people to sleep,” she said, adding that she’s dangerous elsewhere as well. “But also my hands are dangerous too. My last fight in LFA, I KOed that girl – hit her with a hook and she started walking sideways.”
Regardless of Frey’s intentions, she isn’t worried. In fact, with all the changes that happen leading up to a fight in the octagon, Demopoulos tries not to ever worry about what he opponent is going to do.
“When I’m training, I like to implement the things I’m trying to improve personally,” Demopoulos said. “Last minute changes happen all the time. You just need to be prepared to go in there and fight and battle and be the best version of yourself.”
That best version of Demopoulos will look to solidify her first UFC win streak this Saturday as part of the ESPN+ prelims.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 1:59.