The UFC will crown its first strawweight champion on December 12 at the TUF 20 Finale event in Las Vegas.
24 hours later, undefeated prospects Claudia Gadelha and Joanna Jędrzejczyk will meet in the octagon at UFC on FOX 13, in a bout that Claudia says will determine the divisions next title contender:
“Whoever wins that fight, fights for the belt,” Gadelha told Ariel Helwani as a guest on The MMA Hour. She went on to confirm that the UFC has told her of the bouts importance.
Gadelha was originally slated to be a part of The Ultimate Fighter 20 season, but her coach and manager Andre Pederneiras asked the UFC to remove her from the reality show since it would be tough for her to make weight several times in a short amount of time.
“I’m so happy to not be there,” she said. “I’m watching all these girls having a lot of drama in the house. It would be a lot of problems for me to make the weight there, so I’m so happy to not be there. I’m happy also to make the debut and be the contender.”
TUF 20’s last episode airs this Wednesday on Fox Sports 1, with the winners from the Carla Esparza vs. Jessica Penne bout and Randa Markos vs. Rose Namajunas fight facing off for the inaugural UFC gold on Friday night.
“Who I want to win is Carla Esparza,” Gadelha said. “I want her to have the belt so I can fight her.”
Gadelha and Esparza were expected to fight twice during their days at Invicta FC, but the Nova Uniao fighter (Gadelha) was forced to pull out on both occasions.
“The first time we were going to fight I broke my nose. The second time we were going to fight I got sick and went to the hospital,” Gadelha said. “She talks a lot s–t about that, she’s talking a lot of things about what happened and I didn’t like it, so I wanna fight her. I feel that I’m the contender right now. I’m going to win my next fight and then if she has the belt, we’re going to fight for the belt.”
With six years as a professional MMA fighter, Gadelha sees the opportunity of fighting for a UFC title as the pinnacle of her career.
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“That was a dream,” Gadelha said. “I’m fighting since I was 16. I fought jiu-jitsu my whole life and I’m fighting for that (goal) for 10 years. I think I deserve that chance that the UFC gave me to be the first strawweight fighter and I’m so happy for what’s happening with the division right now. The UFC was a dream that I always fought for. (To) be the first strawweight fighter was so important to me.”