Jaqueline Amorim dispatched all of her MMA opponents in quick fashion en route to her UFC 287 debut Saturday in Miami, and jokes she wants to stop Sam Hughes in under five minutes to avoid distressing her father.
Amorim started training jiu-jitsu at age 5 in Manaus, Brazil, under the influence of her dad, a longtime jiu-jitsu practitioner and MMA fan, and instantly fell in love with the martial art. Amorim enjoyed watching PRIDE events with her father at a young age, but focused full-time on grappling since women’s MMA wasn’t a big market at the time.
“I decided to stay in jiu-jitsu and win everything I wanted,” Amorim said on this week’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I wanted to win the [IBJJF] Worlds, Pan-American, and build my name.”
Amorim made some noise in the grappling circuit in the colored belts, winning a multiple IBJJF World Championships in gi and no-gi as a purple- and brown-belt. With women’s MMA already established worldwide, it was time to make the jump.
“I was waiting for the right time to make the transition to MMA,” said Amorim, who won and defended the LFA strawweight title before signing with the UFC. “[My father] has always supported me. He’s the reason why I’m in martial arts, so he’s super excited [for my UFC debut]. It’s a dream for us, and he’s very happy to be here with me.”
Amorim is 6-0 as a MMA fighter with six first-round stoppages, including two sub-minute finishes under the LFA banner in 2021. Hughes has only been finished once outside of a doctor stoppage, tapping to a triangle choke in the fourth round of her championship bout with Vanessa Demopoulos at LFA, and Amorim wants to end it early.
“We always say in the gym, I have to go there and give my all in the first round to finish it early otherwise my father will get nervous if it goes to the second round,” Amorim laughed. “I always tell my dad, ‘Don’t worry, we’re ready for everything if it goes past the first round’ [laughs]. I want to apply my jiu-jitsu when I get there, I want to finish the fight. That’s one of the goals for my debut.”
Amorim is young in the sport compared to Hughes, who has double the experience in the cage and six UFC bouts under her belt. That said, the Brazilian feels that competing for so long in grappling tournaments can give her the edge.
“All the experience I’ve had in jiu-jitsu has only helped me,” Amorim said. “It’s two different sports, of course. When I went to MMA I was just a jiu-jitsu fighter and that’s why I moved to [American Top Team] because I wanted to evolve in MMA instead of being only a jiu-jitsu athlete. Of course it helps, I’m way ahead [of others]. I consider myself a great grappler and I don’t know if other girls have this level, but I want to focus on being a better MMA fighter.”
“I know [Hughes] is a tough athlete and more in-cage experience than me,” Amorim said. “And I think she’s such a smart fighter that keeps getting better as the fight progresses, but I don’t think she’s ever fought someone like me, a grappler like me. I think that will make things more difficult for her. It won’t be an easy for [for me], and I don’t want easy fights. I respect her, but I want to go in there and finish this fight.”