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Amanda Lemos fires back at Marina Rodriguez ahead of UFC Vegas 64 clash: ‘Nobody forced her to take this fight’

UFC Fight Night: Waterson-Gomez v Lemos
Amanda Lemos
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Marina Rodriguez will fight Amanda Lemos in the main event of Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 64, even though she thinks it’s “a fight that doesn’t make sense.”

Lemos wasn’t happy with those comments. During an appearance on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca, she criticized her opponent for voicing her discontent publicly.

“I think it’s a big opportunity for me,” said Lemos, who tapped Michelle Waterson-Gomez in her most recent octagon appearance. “If it doesn’t make sense for her, she shouldn’t have taken this fight. She turned down a fight previously [vs. Zhang Weili], a fight that would have been crucial for her to go to the belt, and she turned it down. That’s on her – I have nothing to do with that. People saying [fighting me] doesn’t make sense – nobody forced her to take the fight. I’m a professional, I’m here.”

Rodriguez is on a four-fight winning streak in bouts against Waterson-Gomez, Yan Xiaonan, Mackenzie Dern and Amanda Ribas, and she felt she deserved a shot at the strawweight title already instead of facing Lemos, who lost to Jessica Andrade three months prior to her victory over Waterson-Gomez.

“If we were in opposite positions [in the ranking] and I felt well enough to fight, I would accept [fighting Rodriguez],” Lemos said. “I’m not going to wait years to fight for the belt. The belt is something I want, it’s a goal, but my main goal is to provide to my family. I’m here to fight whoever agrees to fight me. That’s on her and her team, I won’t criticize that because I know about my life and what I go through, but saying it doesn’t make sense is not cool because nobody forced her to take this fight. I didn’t call her out, I was offered this fight.

“I don’t worry about what others will say about me. What matters to me is my conscience, it’s between myself and God. I don’t know what she intended by saying that, if it was something mean or just a comment, but that doesn’t bother me at all. It just gives me strength to train and go there and do my best.”

Lemos said Rodriguez is a “great” fighter, but added “I’m ready” even though they both had little time to adjust to five rounds, being elevated to the main event spot of the Nov. 5 card.

“I believe we have everything to enter the octagon Saturday and give fans a great fight,” she said. “I’m aggressive, she’s aggressive, so I don’t think this fight will [go the distance]. I always go in there to finish the fight whenever I have the opportunity, and so does Marina, so this fight will be fire, a brawl.”

Rodriguez has only one loss as a professional MMA fighter, a split decision against now-champion Carla Esparza. Lemos doesn’t rule out following the wrestling approach against a striker like Rodriguez, even though fans might not appreciate it.

“I’ve evolved in the grappling area, it’s something I began training a lot,” Lemos said. “I feel super strong in that area too. If I have to use it, I definitely will, but I believe one of the strategies is not let her enjoy the fight, not let her do her thing. She has a high volume of strikes and we won’t let her do that game.”

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