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Herica Tiburcio aims for Invicta title, doesn’t rule out moving to 115 for UFC

Esther Lin, Invicta FC

Herica Tiburcio has two goals for her MMA career - win the Invicta FC atomweight title back, and become a UFC fighter.

Fresh off a decision victory over Simona Soukupova at Invicta FC 20, the former champion, who recently moved to Boston to train at Juniko Hanower and Sityodtong Boston, admits she feels relieved after being back to the winning column.

"I took a ton of weight off my shoulders,” Tiburcio told MMA Fighting. “I want to win every time I step in there, but unfortunately I was coming off two losses. The (Ayaka) Hamasaki title fight I really lost, but I’m sure I didn't lose to Jinh Yu. The judges saw another fight, and I unfortunately left it in their hands. But it doesn't matter what I think or not, the loss is (in my record) so I can’t do anything about it."

Looking to be back in action under the Invicta FC banner in March, Tiburcio says she’d love to rematch Hamasaki for the 105-pound championship.

"It’s up to Shannon (Knapp), she's my boss,” Tiburcio said with a laugh. "If she wants to give me the fight, I’ll be happy to take it, but I don't know yet what’s going to happen. I really want to fight for the title again to get it back because it’s mine [laughs]. I really want it back, and I will do my best to make it mine again."

Tiburcio wants to take the belt back to Brazil, but wouldn't pass on a chance to become a UFC fighter. And since the UFC doesn't have the atomweight division, she wouldn't think twice about moving up to 115 pounds.

"I’m really happy at Invicta FC, they give me a big structure here, the whole team is phenomenal, but yes, I would move up to fight in the UFC if they call me,” Tiburcio said. "The UFC is like the World Cup of MMA.

"I don’t rule out fighting at 115 pounds in the UFC, and it would be even better if they open my division [laughs]. One step at a time. Who knows, maybe I’ll be fighting there soon."

Michelle Waterson, who also used to hold the Invicta FC atomweight belt — Tiburcio took it from her via third-round submission in 2014 —, recently scored a big UFC win over Paige VanZant at UFC on FOX 22, and the Brazilian is happy with her success in the Octagon.

"I’m happy for her, for her growth in the UFC now,” Tiburcio said, "but I’m focused on myself. She earned it, but I also trained hard, evolved, and that’s it. I’m fine at Invicta FC, and maybe one day we’ll be together in the UFC."

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