Amanda Lemos is back in action after making short work of ex-Invicta FC champion Livinha Souza in the biggest fight of her career in March, and she vows to keep finishing strawweights until she gets her wish to challenge a top-ranked foe.
Booked against Montserrat Conejo in the preliminary portion of UFC Vegas 31 this Saturday night at UFC APEX, Lemos says she’s “always trying to end the fight quickly, knockout or submission,” and Conejo just happens to be next in her list.
“I’ve asked for a ranked opponent but they didn’t give me one,” Lemos told MMA Fighting. “I want to stay active, I want to fight. They’ve offered me this one and I took it right away.”
According to Lemos, her manager Wallid Ismail was informed by the UFC that “two ranked opponents turned down a fight against me” before being offered a bout with Conejo.
“I don’t know why,” she said. “And then they offered me to fight a ranked opponent for October but I didn’t want [to wait that long]. I said, ‘No, give me anyone, I want to fight and show my work.’ I spent too long sidelined so I don’t care who I’m fighting.”
Lemos has won three in a row in the UFC since dropping down to strawweight following a short-notice UFC debut loss to Leslie Smith at bantamweight. At 115 pounds, she has defeated Miranda Granger, Mizuki Inoue and Souza.
A former Jungle Fight champion in her native Brazil, “Amandinha” believes the message here is she’s feared by those higher ranked in her division.
“I asked for Michelle [Waterson after] the Mizuki fight and they didn’t give me her. I asked for Tecia Torres, and again they didn’t give me her. And then they gave me Livinha,” Lemos said. “I’m asking [for names], right? I’m asking. I want to be ranked high, of course, but if they don’t give me [someone ranked], I want to stay busy and show my evolution. There will be a time when they will have no way out but to look at me and value me.
“I’ve been showing how much I’ve evolved after every fight and I still have a lot more to show,” she continued. “I still haven’t showed what I got. All I asked for is to fight. Ranked or not, [as long as] I’m doing a good job they will have no option but to give me what I want.”
Lemos is currently ranked No. 14 in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings and hopes to climb the ladder with a quick finish over Conejo, who enters the bout on a two-fight winning streak over Janaisa Morandin and Cheyanne Buys.
“First round, I’ll knock her out,” Lemos vowed. “She has an annoying attack in which she takes you to the fence and tries a takedown, but she won’t get it. I’ve trained a lot on that and on her mistakes, and I’ll catch her in the first round, no doubt. She has a lot of flaws. She rushes forward with all she’s got to get you against the cage and do this position she likes, but I see no danger in her. I’ve trained this takedown defense and I’ll catch her when she attacks. I’ll finish her.”