Jessica Andrade is aiming to become the second women to win titles in two different wight classes in the UFC, but she won’t stop there.
The former UFC strawweight champion had a short reign at 115 pounds, but instantly entered the title picture at flyweight with a first-round knockout over Katlyn Chookagian. “Bate Estaca” is expected to challenge Valentina Shevchenko for the throne in 2021, a matchup she has dreamed about in the past.
Andrade said in an interview with MMA Fighting she wanted to fight for the flyweight belt after knocking out Rose Namajunas in Brazil, but the company paired her up against Zhang Weili instead. In the end, Zhang took her gold in China.
Back to the winning column with a devastating finish over Chookagian in her 125-pound debut, Andrade won’t narrow her options to one weight class only.
“I told Dana [White], I told the UFC that right now I’m floating, I’ll be wherever they need me,” she said. “If I win the flyweight title, I definitely want a chance to fight for the belt with Zhang Weili again and maybe become a two-division champion.”
Andrade knows that holding two belts is no easy task. So far, Amanda Nunes was the only fighter to change weight classes multiple times and defend both titles while still holding them simultaneously (other dual-division UFC champions have been stripped of one of their titles before getting the chance to defend their second one), reigning as the UFC bantamweight and featherweight queen.
Reaching the top of both the strawweight and flyweight divisions would be “very difficult,” and therefore a bigger feat than Nunes in Andrade’s eyes, “because both divisions are stacked, so it would be very hard to accomplish.”
“It’s easier for Amanda because there are almost no girls at 145, and she fights once a year at 135,” she said. “At 115 and 125, I would have to fight at least six times a year, so that would be more complicated. But reclaiming the 115 title is definitely something I want really bad.”
“The Lioness” defended the 135-pound belt three times before moving up and challenging Cris Cyborg in 2018. Nunes entered the cage twice in 2019, defeating bantamweight contenders Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie before dominating 145-pound challenger Felicia Spencer this past June.
Andrade won’t look past Shevchenko or underestimate the heavy task that is claiming a pair of belts in the UFC. She won’t rule out going for a third belt either.
“Who knows, maybe I go crazy down the line and want to fight for the [bantamweight] belt too, right?” Andrade said. “Anything can happen in life. Can you imagine? I’ll have three, it would be great. A champion in three different weight classes, that will be great.”