Irene Aldana believes she is part of a No. 1 contender fight with Ketlen Vieira at UFC 245.
Vieira, who is ranked No. 2 in the division, has not fought since March of 2018, so Aldana was surprised she was offered this fight.
“Yes, I was a little surprised. I was traveling from my last fight and suddenly I received this call on if I wanted to fight Ketlen Vieira and we definitely said yes as this was a great opportunity for me,” Aldana said to BJPENN.com. “I don’t think these opportunities come this often so we need to take it. She has spent a lot of time out of the sport and had a serious knee injury. I think this is a good thing for me, and I feel good so we took it.”
Irene Aldana also says this was not supposed to be her fight. Instead, Julianna Pena was supposed to take on the undefeated Brazilian, but she doesn’t know why that fight never happened. Whatever the case, Aldana is excited she got the fight, as she says a win here should earn her a title shot.
“She is No. 2 so it is a great challenge for me. This fight clarifies a lot in the division. The winner could fight the winner of Amanda-Germaine,” Aldana explained. “So it opens a door to the belt sooner than I thought it would be. Winning this fight makes me climb to the top of the division. I have nothing to lose because I am ranked number 10. I took this fight as a replacement as she was supposed to fight Julianna Pena, but something happened to it. It is going to define a lot of things. The fact that the title fight is the same night, is good.
“I haven’t been told that by the UFC, but I think it is obvious. This is a number one contender fight,” she clarified.
Beating Vieira is easier said than done. No one has done it so far. Yet Aldana is confident her striking is far superior and in turn, will earn a win, evenly possibly winning by stoppage.
“Every fight I want to keep it in the striking because I love the standup fight and that is where I most skilled,” Aldana said. “I’m always ready for what happens and if it goes to the ground, I can grapple and have submission wins. It is MMA, I’m ready for wherever the fight goes.
“But, I have to finish the fight. I always love to finish fights, it can’t be done every time but I try,” she continued. “If I can find a way to finish this fight, I would love to. It could be a knockout, submission, decision. I just will get my hand raised.”
Irene Aldana is focusing on Ketlen Vieira but says she will weigh in at 135 pounds in case something happens to either Amanda Nunes or Germaine de Randamie.
“I think the number one option is Ketlen because she is ranked number two. Their first pick is Ketlen, but I will be there and if they need me, I’ll be ready, and weighing 135.”
Do you think Irene Aldana will be the first person to beat Ketlen Vieira at UFC 245?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/11/2019.