UFC 285’s Tabatha Ricci: Happy to be Fighting ‘OG’ UFC Strawweight Penne

Tabatha Ricci at Knuckheadz Boxing Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Back in October, Tabatha Ricci was slated to fight Jessica Penne in a stawweight bout on UFC Vegas 61. However, just minutes prior to weigh-ins, Penne fell ill and had to be pulled from the card. The result left a fully prepared Ricci on the scale and more than a little frustrated by it all.

“Well, it was frustrating to me because it’s a lot of work to get ready for a fight, especially in a big organization like the UFC. Plus I had all my team, family and everyone who supports me there,” Ricci explained. “So I got a little bit sad, but I would say it’s nothing that I can control, the situation. The only thing I can control is how I react to those things.”

Despite dealing with an unfortunate situation, Ricci, always the optimist, sees an opportunity for growth in the whole situation.

“In MMA that happens often, so we have to be ready for that,” she said. “This happening just gives me more time to get better.”

While she enjoys the opportunity to work on her craft, Ricci was ready to get back in the cage right away. She looked to get booked to fight as soon as she could, but scheduling issues made that difficult.

“I was trying to get this fight rescheduled as soon as possible. I was talking to my manager, but they were really booked,” Ricci said. “So it was kind of hard to get it as soon as possible.”

Now finally on fight week again, Ricci is excited to show her skills once again. Although she is sure that she would have taken a fight with anyone in the division that the UFC wanted her to fight, she is glad that she got her original fight rebooked.

“Anyone they’d be giving to me I’ll be fighting, but since I got to fight Jessica [Penne], I think it’s a good fight for me,” she said. “She’s one of the OGs of the division. She started the division. She’s a big name, so I think it’s a good challenge for me.”

Ricci’s fight with Jessica Penne will take plan on the prelims of UFC 285 on ESPN+ this Saturday.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview below at 1:55.