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Livia Renata Souza says she's ready for UFC: 'I'm the f*cking strawweight Conor McGregor'

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Scott Hirano, Invicta FC

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Invicta FC strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza scored the first knockout of her career Saturday night but she didn't make it out unscathed.

"F**k Muay Thai, man," Souza said post-fight at Invicta FC 15. "I love jiu-jitsu because it doesn't hurt. No problem, though."

The champ broke her right hand sometime during her 90-second title defense to the formerly undefeated DeAnna Bennett.

Now 9-0 with seven submission victories, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt believes she's proven herself well-rounded enough to be a serious threat on the next level.

"I have more fights left on my Invicta contract but don't have anyone left to fight with me at my level in Invicta," Souza said. "My job in Invicta is done. I think it's time for the UFC. I only need an opportunity to prove myself. That's it."

Invicta president Shannon Knapp has no problem with Souza shooting for the UFC, even though she's not quite ready to let her walk away yet.

"I think every athlete aspires to fight on a great stage," Knapp said. "C'mon. I understand that and I want athletes to definitely achieve their dream. If that's the dream, we'll keep working until she's ready to go there."

Invicta FC has a bankable opponent for Souza in the 7-0 Mexican standout Alexa Grasso, but the bout has already fallen through twice before.

"I won't talk about Alexa Grasso anymore," said Souza."She's had many opportunities to fight me. Now, I won't fight her because she's not an interest. Now I need to go to the next step. I'll wait for some opportunities in the big event, you know. I'm waiting for your call, Dana."

Souza didn't play matchmaker but didn't sound opposed to the idea of scrapping with fan favorite Paige VanZant, referring to the 21-year-old UFC vet as "a joke."

"I'm the f***ing strawweight Conor McGregor," Souza said. "I don't look to the person. I only look at the numbers. I don't see their faces.

"[VanZant] is a great fighter. I don't disrespect fighters in the UFC. She's on another step above me, but I could win that fight easily."

Having now made a few trips to compete outside of Brazil, Souza says she plans on incorporating more training at the top gyms in the United States.

"I'm always improving my game to bring it to the next level," said Souza. "Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, wrestling. Now I need some camps in the U. S. to improve my game a lot more. I have some options and now I'll research the best gyms. I prefer places like American Top Team. My coaches and managers can decide that."