UFC Powerhouse Wants to Move Up 2 Weight Classes & Take Out Champion

Julianna Pena & Amanda Nunes

Getty Julianna Pena & Amanda Nunes

Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade wants to move up to 135 pounds and take out reigning champion Julianna Peña.

Peña became the bantamweight queen in December at UFC 269 after dethroning longtime champion Amanda Nunes via second-round rear-naked choke. Many outlets called “The Venezuelan Vixen’s” victory the biggest upset of 2021, and the two are scheduled to rematch at UFC 277 on July 30.

Well, according to Andrade, Peña is an easier fight for her than women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and the 115-pound ruler, Carla Esparza.

Speaking with MMA Fighting’s “Trocação Franca” podcast, Andrade said:

“In theory, it’s easier to fight Julianna, especially for what she’s showed against Amanda,” Andrade said. “I really think it was more of Amanda [losing than Peña winning], because Amanda is way better than what she’s showed. She was submitted with no hooks in, you could see the pressure wasn’t too much. But I don’t know how Amanda’s weight cut was — it was two years since her last fight [at bantamweight], so something might have affected and led to that. She got tired so quickly. It wasn’t the Amanda we’re used to watching. Maybe she will show the Amanda we know in this rematch and get the belt back.

“If that doesn’t happen, I really think it’s easier to fight Julianna than the girls at 125 and 115. I hope we get the opportunity to fight one day and it’s for the belt. I think it’s the easier matchup, no doubt. We’re used to fighting girls at 125 and 115, who are faster and have power in their strikes, and people at 135 are slower, I think due to their weight and how they move. So if you get them tired, it’s over. I get better round after round, I don’t get tired, I don’t slow down, and that would be a good key for me to beat Julianna and maybe win the 135-pound belt.”

Andrade Said if the UFC Offers Her a Fight With Peña, She’s ‘In’

Andrade made it clear that she’s “ready for everything,” which includes taking a fight at bantamweight against The Venezuelan Vixen.

“Maybe we can risk going to 135 again in the future just so I can prove people that I really won in three weight classes, but only in the final stages of my career,” Andrade said via the outlet. “It could be a cool option. Fighting Julianna could be a cool test for me. Imagine that, becoming champion at 135?

“Since there’s no one to fight me at 115 and 125, put me to fight for the belt at 135. It’s an option. I’m ready for everything. I’m living here [in Las Vegas] now, so it’s much easier. If you need me, just knock on my door and I’m in.”

Andrade Returned to Strawweight in Her Last Fight

After a three-fight stint at flyweight, which included a women’s flyweight title loss to Shevchenko, Andrade moved back down to strawweight this year.

She competed against Amanda Lemos in April and submitted her fellow Brazilian with a standing arm-triangle choke. “Bate Estaca” (23-9) is currently ranked No. 6 at strawweight and No. 3 at flyweight, as per the official UFC standings.

Andrade won the 115-pound belt in 2019 at UFC 237 when she knocked out then-champ Rose Namajunas with a slam. She lost the title in her first defense, however, succumbing to Zhang Weili via TKO later that year.

Bate Estaca is known for her power and grappling capabilities, boasting nine wins by KO/TKO and eight by submission.

Read More