UFC Charlotte’s Tainara Lisboa Had Doubts, But Never Gave Up Hope Ahead of UFC Debut

Charlotte, NC — Brazil’s Tainara Lisboa finally had a chance to make her UFC debut on Saturday, coming away with a submission win against her most experienced opponent to date in Jessica-Rose Clark.

“I’m very happy. I’m shining. This is the work of a lot of people,” Lisboa (6-2) told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight, which saw a nasty cut opened up above the Brazilian’s eye shortly before she found the finish. “I come from a small team, but a team full of a lot of professionals. It’s just so great to have this opportunity, and also it’s the dream of every athlete to be here in the greatest organization in the world. I’m very happy.”

Lisboa’s debut was a long time coming. She signed with the promotion in May of 2022, just a week shy of one year ago. The “Thai Panther” admitted that doubts about whether her debut would ever come started to creep in with such a long wait.

“I won’t lie to you [by saying] it didn’t cross my mind. Because you get such a long wait [following the contract] and then it doesn’t happen,” noted Lisboa. “So I figure ‘why is it taking so long, is it not for me?’ But you say ‘well I haven’t given up to this point, so why give up now? And it was all worth it to have waited.”

Lisboa’s boyfriend, who doubles as her head coach, was not able to be in her corner in Charlotte — another obstacle she had to overcome.

“I found out mid-camp that he wasn’t going to be able to be here with me, but he put me in the hands of two amazing professionals,” Lisboa said of his absence. While many others stepped up, “It wasn’t just my project but his as well, it was his dream.”

As for what will come next for the bantamweight, who has now won four straight, Lisboa joked that she wants to fight right away — before admitting that “I have to wait until the eye gets healed.” But the Brazilian, who once faced Valentina Shevchenko in a Muay Thai bout, is willing to fight “whoever the UFC wants me to fight. We have to always be prepared for anyone they put you out there with.”

Watch the full UFC Charlotte post-fight press conference with Tainara Lisboa above.