Liz Carmouche builds on list of firsts in UFC on FOX 8 bout with Jessica Andrade

USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE -- Liz Carmouche's lists of first is getting almost as long as her fight record.

First openly gay fighter in the UFC. Participant in the first women's fight, title fight, and pay-per-view headline fight all rolled into one.

The San Diego-based fighter will add more to her trailblazing list on Saturday night. Her bout with Jessica Andrade -- the first Brazilian woman to fight in the UFC -- is both the first women's MMA fight on network television and the first fight between two gay fighters, as Andrade, like Carmouche is openly lesbian.

When asked about the various distinctions at the UFC on FOX 8 media day Thursday at the Westin in downtown Seattle, Carmouche said she's more hyped about appearing on network television.

"I'm honestly more excited it's the first on national TV more than anything," Carmouche (7-3) said.

That said, Carmouche still appreciates the opportunity to fight to another gay fighter. "I do think it's great," Carmouche said. "It shouldn't be a focus on our sexual preference as fighters, it's an aspect of who we are as people. So it's nice to finally drift away from that and just focus on who are these fighters."

Which is fair. Not much was known about Andrade, who was a replacement for the originally planned fight between Carmouche and Miesha Tate, which was scuttled when Tate was pulled to appear opposite Ronda Rousey on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

That said, Carmouche accepted the fight without hesitation.

"It was disappointing [losing the Tate fight], but the fact they kept the fight for me and I didn't have to lose it," Carmouche said. "I still get to be fighting in the same [spot], I would have had to wait months down the road for the opportunity to fight Miesha."

Andrade (9-2), who lives in a small town outside Curitiba, doesn't look like a fighter at first glance. She's 21, generously listed at 5-foot-3 by the UFC, and has fought as low as 115 pounds. But she's picked up the sport in a hurry, fighting seven times in 2012 alone and earning all of her victories via stoppage.

"There's some pressure because she's the first Brazilian fighting in the UFC, she's on the card so the whole country is watching," Andrade's interpreter said. "She goes from being on small cards with 2,000 people to the whole country being behind her. So that leads to pressure, but it's good pressure."

Andrade is well aware of Carmouche's reputation as an all-action fighter.

"Liz is pretty good on the ground, she's good standing up, and above all she's very strong for the division," Andrade said. "But she's trained very hard for everything she can throw at her. You never know what's going to happen in there, but she did all the preparation to deal with."

Carmouche, for her part, didn't know as much about Andrade at the beginning, but has become well-acquainted with her foe's style.

"Initially, when the matchup was offered, between my management and in between my coaches, we did all the research and we watched the video on her and now we're ready," said Carmouche, who feels a win over Andrade would put her in position for a Rousey rematch. "I think she has a lot of power. She's 9-2 and she's only 21 years old, that says a lot. I mean she's really great at jiu-jitsu, and her standup, she stands and throws and won't stop until the fight's over."

Like Carmouche, Andrade is aware of her role as a trailblazer in the sport.

"[Andrade} hope she's opening the door for other people to be open about who they are and their sexual orientation," Andrade's interpreter said. "And to show that they're not different from everybody else. It doesn't affect who they are and what they do."

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