Amanda Ribas will only believe she’s actually fighting Saturday night at UFC 285 when Viviane Araujo is standing across the cage from her inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
Ribas, a 29-year-old talent from Varginha, Brazil, said on this week’s Trocação Franca podcast that getting matches cancelled at the last minute has been an issue throughout her career. The fighter was slated to face Tracy Cortez this past December, however Cortez pulled out from the card shortly after both had made weight in Orlando.
“I hope the fight happens this time, because last time I did all the preparation and it didn’t happen,” Ribas said. “I just finished a training session here at the UFC PI and I’m pumped. Fight week, I can’t wait to step foot inside the octagon and do my thing and be happy in there.”
“That’s the fun part of all this, to get inside the octagon and put all the work to the test, because going through a camp isn’t that nice,” she added. “The fight is what I love about this, being in the center and everybody watching you, representing everything I live for.”
Ribas once caused a cancellation, too, when a positive test for COVID-19 in May 2020 forced the UFC to pull the plug on a match with Angela Hill just hours before the fight.
“I had my hair done on fight day and it was cancelled, so [I’ll only believe] when Bruce [Buffer] says my name in the cage,” Ribas said with a laugh. “That’s when the heart starts racing and the butterflies in the stomach hit.
“I really want to fight, to do what I’ve prepared for. To go through all the diet and [then] not have a fight sucks. I had that before and did great in my following fight [against Virna Jandiroba], and I hope that happens again.”
A veteran of 13 professional bouts over a span of nine years, Ribas admits she still gets nervous before fights. The secret, she said, is to know how to control it.
“My biggest fear is not being able to do what I trained and let things go inside the octagon,” Ribas said. “It’s frustrating when you work in the gym and can do it all, but imagine going in there and not being able to do anything? God willing, I’ll be able to do what I’ve trained to do in the octagon.”
Ribas is still planning on returning to the strawweight division down the line, but competing at flyweight and having a smoother weight cut allows her to stay busier. Viviane Araujo, her foe Saturday, is 5-3 in the octagon after dropping a decision to 125-pound contender Alexa Grasso in her most recent match.
“‘Vivi’ is very experienced, even more than Tracy, so I have to be smart about her heavy hands and her ground game,” Ribas said. “She’s very good on the ground as well. I have to smart about everything with ‘Vivi.’”