Irene Aldana says her UFC 245 fight against Ketlen Vieira was about as perfect as it could have been.
On the prelims of the stacked year-end pay-per-view card, Aldana was welcoming Vieira back to the Octagon after nearly two years away. And, she made a statement as she knocked the Brazilian out cold to hand Vieira her first loss.
Now with the win, Irene Aldana says she stole Vieira’s hype and believes a title shot could be next.
“For sure. I think it is obvious because she was number two and she was supposed to fight for the title next,” Aldana said to MMA News. “Then this happened and I don’t know what the UFC’s plans are if they are going to give me the title shot right away or if I need another one or two more fights until the title shot. But, I’m open to whatever they decide.”
Although she may be next in line, she has yet to talk to the UFC about what is next. But, she knows Amanda Nunes wants to defend her featherweight title next. So, the Mexican is open to a number one contender bout with either Aspen Ladd or Julianna Pena.
“I’m open to anything the UFC asks me to do. I think they are going to look for whatever is good for the company and me as an athlete,” she said. I like to stay active but I need to sit down and talk to my coaches and my team to see what is best for me.”
For Aldana, she is very happy with her performance and knew she had what it takes to knock out the Brazilian. But, she said they planned on doing it in the third round once they dragged her to deep waters.
“She is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, a black belt in judo, her main strengths are in takedowns and control people on the ground and submit people. My strategy was to stay on the feet and use my boxing and footwork and not let her get a takedown. I was prepared if that happened. If she took me down, I was prepared,” she said. “We thought we were going to go to the third round and give more pressure in the third. I’m happy it happened in the first round and an out cold knockout.”
Also on the same card as Aldana was Nunes beating Germaine de Randamie to defend her belt. Aldana says it was a tough fight for both but proves Nunes is the GOAT.
Irene Aldana believes a fight with Nunes would be close and one that she is confident she would win.
“If I’m prepared mentally and physically I can make a good fight. I’m capable of winning. I am still improving every day,” she explained. “We can make it happen though.”
Yet, she says she isn’t too interested in going up in weight to fight Nunes at 145. Instead, she would be fine taking another fight around April and waiting for the champ-champ to defend at bantamweight again.
It was a phenomenal year for Aldana who went 3-1 and reached her goal of being ranked in the top-five.
“It was an amazing year. It was a marathon this year. I faced some of the best in the division this year. Two ex-title challengers in Correira and Pennington,” she said. “It made me grow as a fighter and I stayed active. Well, my first goal was to enter the top-five and I finally got it. That is great for me as I accomplished my goal so I’m happy about that.”
In the end, Irene Aldana is looking forward to 2020 and has already set her goal. And it involves two words. And New.
“For 2020, maybe the title. I think I’m closer than ever and I believe by the end of 2020 I can get the title,” Aldana concluded.