Livia Renata Souza defends the Invicta FC strawweight title against Angela Hill at Saturday’s Invicta FC 17 in Costa Mesa, Calif., and she’s not impressed by Hill’s resurgence under the promotion’s banner.
Hill, who fought most of her career under the UFC banner, made her promotional debut in January with a quick finish over Alida Gray. Less than two months later, "Overkill" improved to 2-0 at Invicta FC with a second-round win against Stephanie Eggink.
"I chose to fight her," Souza told MMA Fighting. "They offered me another fighter (Mizuki Inoue), but I chose Angela Hill because of her two quick wins at Invicta and because she’s a UFC veteran. It’s time to test myself, despite the fact that I don’t think she’s as good as people think she is here in the United States."
Despite Hill’s recent wins, Souza, who stopped Katja Kankaanpaa to win the strawweight belt and finished DeAnna Bennett in 90 seconds to defend it in January, doesn’t seem impressed with her opponent’s skillset.
"She’s very traditional," said the champion. "I train with a lot of muay thai fighters and I don’t think she’s that different. I’m not that same old ‘Livinha’ that wanted to grapple immediately. Wherever the fight goes, I’ll be fine. I just want to put my hands on her face and fight consistently. If I have to grapple, everybody knows how this fight will end.
"She beat Alida Gray and everybody knows she’s a veteran and doesn’t have the same cardio and energy anymore, and everybody knows she was never a great athlete anyway. And Stephany (Eggink) is a great athlete, but was out for two years due to pregnancy and felt the layoff," she continued. "We can’t get overexcited about Hill’s wins, we have to look at the other side of the cage to see who she beat. She went to the UFC not because she earned it, but only because she was on TUF and they didn’t have many options in the strawweight division. She only had one fight and that means nothing. She’s not that great. I plan on putting my hands on her face the best way possible, and as fast as possible."
Souza broke her hand en route to her first-round win over Bennett in January, and doesn’t know what would be the best way of defeating Hill on May 7.
"I would like to knock her out. I liked the feeling. But I don’t want to break my hand at her face, so I would prefer to submit so I don’t break my hand again," she said. "When the referee stopped the fight against Bennett, I felt some pain when I landed the last hammerfist in DeAnna’s face. When I took the gloves off, my hands were more crooked than Edward Scissorhands’ hand."
Very vocal and confident, the undefeated Brazilian compared herself to UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor following her most recent win, but has changed her mind about the similarities following "The Notorious’" loss to Nate Diaz.
"I can’t say I’m like McGregor because he got f--ked up by Diaz," Souza said. "It’s only cool to be like McGregor because of all the money he makes and his hot girlfriend, but Diaz smokes too much weed so it’s not cool to be like him. Let’s say I’m part McGregor because I say what’s in my mind, and I have Diaz’s attitude. I say what I think and I don’t care.
"I will always focus on the fans. MMA is supposed to be fun and we lack of people with charisma, people that say what they think and are confident in their work. I don’t think fighting a UFC veteran will change that much because I know that the odds are in my favor. It will be probably bigger because Hill was a UFC fighter, but she’s irrelevant."
As of her fellow Invicta FC competitors, the Brazilian gets pissed off with the way they approach the fight business.
"These other girls say they are all friends with each other, they dress up for weigh-ins and whatever, and that’s a f--king joke," she said. "Nobody wants to see that. If I wanted to see someone wear a costume, I’d go to a costume party. People want to see a fight."
If "Livinha" improves to 10-0 at Invicta FC 17, she believes her next fight should be in the UFC. In fact, the Brazilian thinks she should be in the Octagon already.
"In my opinion, I should have been in the UFC for a long time now but sometimes what we think is not what happens. But I will keep fighting and doing my numbers. There’s no argument against numbers," Souza said. "It’s inevitable, especially because there are no threats to Joanna (Jedrzejczyk’s) title in the UFC except ‘Claudinha’ (Gadelha). The rest, they only do boring fights, like that sh*tty performance from Juliana (Lima) against Carla Esparza. She turned down a fight against me because she knew she would get beat up. We’ll continue to watch boring fights and women’s MMA won’t grow because fans want to watch exciting fights."