By this time next week, Jessica Andrade may have realized her dream and be a UFC world champion. UFC 237 will be Jessica Andrade’s second opportunity to become a champion, with her first attempt coming almost two years to the day at UFC 211 on May 13, 2017 when she challenged and lost to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Dallas, Texas. Now, Andrade will be competing at home in Brazil with the fans behind her to challenge Rose Namajunas for the strawweight title, and she arrive as a different, more mature fighter than she was two years ago:
“Against Rose now, I know I’m a better Jessica,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “I got stronger, both mentally and physically. I know I’ll do great wherever the fight goes. I’m more aggressive than any other girl and I’ll scare them even if I’m getting hit.”
Joanna Jedrzejczyk also taught Jessica Andrade about her UFC 237 opponent, Rose Namajunas, and the biggest lesson learned was that Andrade will have an opponent before her who has also shown improvement, particularly in the striking department:
“It’s a good matchup for me,”Andrade said. “She’ll stand and trade with me and that’s what I love. It’s going to be a finish before the fifth round. Her striking has evolved a lot over the last few fights — we could really see that against Joanna — but I’m very, very confident.”
“The same can happen to me,” Andrade continued. “She’s doing great on the feet, she was able to knock Joanna out. I can’t let her do her thing. I have to go there and frustrate her. I know I can become the first to KO Namajunas. I respect her a lot, I like her, but it’s a fight.
“It’s either going to be me or her — and I prefer me.”
Does Jessica Andrade become a UFC champion on her second attempt when she faces Rose Namajunas in the UFC 237 main event?