At UFC 280, Fiorot scored the biggest victory of her career by taking a unanimous decision over former flyweight title challenger Katelyn Chookagian in a back-and-forth affair. It was the first big moment of Fiorot’s career as the main card opener of the year’s biggest pay-per-view, an experience she believes was important as she climbs the flyweight rankings.
“For sure a lot of pressure,” Fiorot told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It was my first big card, on the main card too, against the No. 1 contender of the division. It was just my fifth fight in the UFC. So absolutely, a lot of pressure. I didn’t have the fight I expected, but the most important thing is I won, and now I’m prepared for the future. ...
“Before the fight I knew Katelyn was very technical, has good footwork, and really, really good fight I.Q., but during the fight she was very frustrating to fight against because she disengaged a lot and she threw a lot, a lot of punches, but not efficient striking. She’d just throw and move, throw and move. So definitely it was very technical and difficult to fight in standup against Katelyn.”
Things will only get more difficult for Fiorot from here. Beating Chookagian means she is likely to assume the No. 1 spot in flyweight rankings, potentially setting up a title fight against champion Valentina Shevchenko. But she isn’t trying to rush that just yet, preferring a true No. 1 contender bout against Alexa Grasso.
“Let me tell you, I never say no when the UFC team asks about an opponent,” Fiorot said. “Never. Two days before the fight, I never say no. I agree, I think [a fight with Alexa Grasso] is a good choice. Alexa, call us. She talked about the fight, she called for the winner of me and Katelyn, so I have to say yes. For sure I’d do this. I think she’s a good striker, and it’s a good fight for the fans and the division.”
Like Fiorot, Grasso recently secured a big victory in a huge spot, taking a unanimous decision over Viviane Araujo in the main event of UFC Vegas 62 just a week before Fiorot’s win. Afterward, Grasso said she wanted a little more experience before rushing into a title fight against Shevchenko, and Fiorot seems to be on the same page, saying she wants to be completely ready to take the title when the time comes.
“I think five rounds is a very good fact for me,” Fiorot said. “I saw Valentina fight against Katelyn, and she didn’t strike against her – she just used her wrestling and her judo throws. So I think I can do a very good standup fight against her, and I think I have the wrestling defense and offense to improve and show I can win against Valentina. ...
“I’m pretty sure right now Valentina has experience on me. I understand I just have five fights on the big stage in the UFC. I think one more is good for my career and my thinking about my fight I.Q.”
With her win over Chookagian, Fiorot is now 10-1 in her MMA career, having gone undefeated since losing her pro debut, with a 5-0 record inside the UFC.