UFC two-division champion Amanda Nunes only fought once in 2022, avenging a previous loss to Julianna Peña and re-claiming the bantamweight title. Fellow Brazilian talent Ketlen Vieira isn’t happy with her pace.
Vieira won decisions over former titleholders Holly Holm and Miesha Tate in her most recent octagon appearances and expected it to be enough to secure a shot at “The Lioness”, but decided to pause her online campaign and go after another victory in the cage instead, battling Raquel Pennington at UFC Vegas 67.
“I can’t wait my entire life, especially because I’m not financially stable yet,” Vieira said on this week’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I need to fight. I don’t get paid as a champion yet. I only get paid if I fight, and I’m not financially stable enough to wait a month, two or six months, a year, a year and a half for a title shot. I spend a lot of money making sure I’m training at a high level and evolving every day. For all that, and making sure I don’t stay inactive, we decided to take this fight.”
“We took this fight because we didn’t want to wait too long, but we wanted a fight that made sense to me,” she continued. “To me, Raquel is a fight that makes a lot of sense because she has the longest winning streak in the division now. I just fought two former champions and now I’m fighting the woman that has the longest winning streak. If you want to be champion, you can’t take shortcuts. … If God thinks I need two or three more fights, I’ll do it.”
Vieira doesn’t think she necessarily needs a finish Saturday nor change her personality outside the cage to impress UFC matchmakers.
“I have to fulfill my obligations, which are train and win fights,” she said. “There will nowhere else to run eventually. If I’m destined to be champion, I will. I don’t have to change who I am for that. If that [style] has brought me here, then it means I’m on the right path. … Raquel Pennington is a very experienced athlete and has been in the UFC for many years, she already fought for the belt, so I think it’s a great test for me. Nothing you do inside the cage will be new to her because she’s been through every situation before, so it will add a lot to me.”
Vieira thinks it’s her destiny to compete for the UFC belt, and would be honored to do it against a legend like Nunes.
“I respect Amanda’s story a lot, and she’s a huge inspiration because she a Brazilian that have conquered so much,” Vieira said, “so I’m proud of that legacy of hers, but it’s my dream on the line here. If one day I have to fight her I will do it very respectfully, and it will be an honor to me. I’ll fight until the end for my dream.”