Vancouver, Canada — A Romanian who has adopted Canada as her home, Diana Belbita received the hometown treatment at UFC 289 in Vancouver on Saturday night.
Belbita (15-7) kicked off the main card in a strawweight scrap with Brazilian Maria Oliveira, and improved to 2-1 in the 115lb division care of a decision win that was relatively one-sided until the final few minutes. That’s when Oliveira uncorked a string of dangerous knees, though Belbita navigated the assault with relative ease.
Earlier in the fight, Oliveira had opted to take things to the ground, Belbita answering with elbows off her back, and at one point by reversing the position.
“Everybody wants to hug me. Like what’s that? I’m too scary, are my hands too scary?” Belbita questioned, incredulously, following the bout. “What’s the problem? Do they love me too much? Every fight, my opponents just try to hug me. Stop hugging and let’s fight. Let’s throw punches in this fight. We’re in a fist fight, we’re not in a hugging fight.”
Of course, it may not matter either way, as Belbita then teased “But guess what? I’m not just a striker, I started working more and more on my grappling, so next time they shoot, I may hug too.”
Some of that grappling was on display Saturday at the Rogers Arena, where Belbita secured her second win as a UFC fighter. After starting out as a flyweight, Belbita appears to have found her niche. She has no regrets about not dropping down in weight sooner, however, and how long she can remain at 115 pounds remains to be seen.
“No, I don’t regret nothing. Because making 115 pounds is never easy, so I needed to learn a few lessons at 125 first,” Bebita told Cageside Press, having previously noted that she cut a lot of weight to make the strawweight limit. “I did some mistakes at that weight class.”
“I’m not sure how long I can make 115 pounds, because I think I’m the tallest strawweight in the UFC. I have to talk to my nutritionist and see how I will do,” Belbita continued. “Maybe I will move up at some point. Maybe for the next two or three fights I will still be a strawweight. I don’t want to make decisions now because I just fought, and I really need time to think.”
Watch the full UFC 289 post-fight appearance by Diana Belbita above.