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Claudia Gadelha taking time off from MMA, won’t fight before February

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Claudia Gadelha is taking some time off after losing to Jessica Andrade.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Don’t expect to watch Claudia Gadelha fight any time soon.

The former UFC strawweight title contender has decided to take some time off from the sport after suffering her third MMA loss, a unanimous decision defeat to Jessica Andrade at UFC Japan.

Gadelha announced her decision in an interview with the media in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"I haven’t trained in a month, and I’ve started to get crazy,” Gadelha said. "I try not to watch fights, but I can’t [laughs]. I went to watch Poliana's (Botelho) fight, she’s a friend of mine, and I got all excited again. I said ‘no, I’ll get this off my head [laughs].’ I want to give my head some time, more time for my friends, for the people I love, to my family. I want to enjoy life, collect experiences with the people I love, and I really needed this time.

"I planned my life until February. I’ll travel with my parents. My parents never traveled outside of Brazil, and I’m taking them to the United States now, fulfilling a dream, and I’ll enjoy life for a bit until February, and then I’ll come back.”

The Brazilian star said she already felt a need to step away from the game a bit even before losing to Andrade, but performing the way she fought showed her it was the right move.

"I never saw something like this happen, I never noticed any athlete do this, but I think it has happened to me,” Gadelha said. "I started to lose a bit of my passion for training. I left my house really young, at 15, with a goal in mind. I fought professionally for the first time when I was 18, and I will turn 29 and never stopped. I want to continue, I will continue, but I think I needed this time for me.

"I haven’t stopped a bit over the past 11 years to give my family and friends some attention. I was too focused on myself and demanding a lot from myself. I think I’m going through that phase when you understand how the light side of the athlete works, and I’m giving myself some time to refresh my mind and understand everything.

"I went through a complicated time when I left Nova Uniao. I can’t say it didn’t hurt, that I didn’t feel anything. I spent more than 11 years inside a team, there were people around me that I thought were my brothers, friends for life, and I never imagined myself leaving Nova Uniao.

"I got over it, and it actually helped me reinvent myself, and then I started to get tired again. I don’t think I was able to balance my training and my mind to prepare for other fights. After the last fight, I realized what I was feeling was real and I decided to pay attention to that.”

Gadelha hasn’t trained in a month, and will slowly go back to the gym to work out — just because she likes to be in shape, but not thinking about competing. As of her loss to Andrade, “Claudinha" says she has learned several lessons at the Saitama Super Arena.

"I think that fight taught me a lot,” Gadelha said. "A loss teaches you more than a win, everybody knows that, but I don’t want to forget that (fight). I want to watch it a thousand times to understand my mistakes. The times I’ve watched it, I could see it clearly. That never happened with me before. I entered the Octagon and wasn’t able to fight. I couldn’t fight, I couldn’t do anything, impose my game.”

"Congratulations to Jessica, who imposed her game,” she added. "I consider myself way better than her technically, but she took it with her strength and will. I admire her for that. I want to watch this fight several times so it becomes a motivation."

The 28-year-old strawweight wants to rewatch her most recent defeat a thousand times if necessary, but can’t re-watch the 25 minutes of her second defeat to 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

"I can’t watch my title fight with Joanna,” she said. "I’ve tried, I can only watch it until the third round, I can’t watch the rest because I see I got tired, that it was a matter of preparation, a training mistake, and I got tired. But I wasn’t tired in the fight with Jessica, I think my mind was tired. Claudia Gadelha was tired and needed a time to think a little."