Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Andrade Explains Strawweight Return Despite “Traumatic Weight Cut”

Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Jéssica Andrade has explained her decision to return to 115 pounds after a stint at flyweight.

Andrade, who briefly held gold in the UFC after dethroning Rose Namajunas back in 2019, has fought at 125 pounds in her last three appearances in the Octagon. After a successful divisional debut against Katlyn Chookagian, the Brazilian earned a shot at dethroning dominant flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko.

Unfortunately for Andrade, she was the victim of one of the Kyrgyzstani’s best performances to date at UFC 261 last April, falling via second-round TKO. Despite rebounding in style with a dominant first-round finish of the once highly-touted Cynthia Calvillo, Andrade is set to return to her old stomping ground this weekend.

In the main event of UFC Vegas 52 on Saturday, Andrade will look to return straight into the championship conversation at strawweight by halting the charge of up-and-coming contender Amanda Lemos.

By re-committing to the division in which she was a part of between 2016 and 2020, Andrade is effectively giving up her #1 ranking in the flyweight class. During her appearance at UFC Vegas 52 media day on Wednesday, “Bate Estaca” explained the reasoning behind the move.

When asked whether she foresees an easier path back to gold at 115 pounds, Andrade suggested it’s actually the opposite. But despite choosing a more challenging road back to a title shot, the Brazilian believes her “optimum” performance can only be achieved at strawweight.

“I wouldn’t say it would be quicker (to reach a title shot) at strawweight, because I was already number one at flyweight, and it’s a much tougher division overall,” noted Andrade. “I think the level of competition at strawweight is still quite ahead of the flyweight division. But at the end of the day, I’m a strawweight. I’m gonna perform my best at strawweight. I can do well at flyweight, I can probably do pretty well at bantam(weight), but strawweight is my optimum weight.”

Andrade Brands UFC Vegas 52 Weight Cut The ‘Best Ever’

Given that the reasoning behind her decision to test the flyweight waters came from some difficult weight cuts to 115 pounds, it’s safe to say Andrade has to be confident in her ability to successfully stand on the scales in a healthy way this week.

Having moved to Las Vegas and utilized the often-praised facilities at the UFC Performance Institute, Andrade says weight hasn’t been an issue at all. She even described her ongoing cut as the ‘best ever’.

“I had a couple problems my last two fights at strawweight. I had a traumatic weight cut. Things didn’t really go well, and my mental state for the weight cuts was just not there anymore,” recalled Andrade. “So I asked to take some time off, talked to my coach and said, ‘Maybe we can take a little break, do something else at flyweight.’ It went way better than we ever expected.

“Now, with the support of the PI and living here in Vegas, things are completely different. This weight cut is probably the best that I’ve ever had, even better than the first one, which was the one I focused on the most. This one is easily the best one, the smoothest one,” claimed Andrade.

Andrade certainly seems prepared to re-enter the conversation at 115 pounds. Only time will tell if she can pose a threat to her former two-time opponent Namajunas, who is currently in the midst of her second reign atop the strawweight mountain.

Do you think Jéssica Andrade can return to title contention at strawweight?

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