Jessica Andrade will be taking on current Invicta Fighting Championships Strawweight Champion Angela Hill this February at UFC Fight Night 104. Andrade, who is a top ten female bantamweight in the UFC, only started fighting professionally a few years ago.
“I didn’t even know what MMA was or anything of that sort,” Andrade told MMA Junkie. “In 2011, they had a judo project in my school. I took one class, the teacher liked me, and he was like, ‘You have a knack for this, come train with us.’ And I said, ‘Let’s go.’ That was actually in 2010. In February of 2011, I started training jiu-jitsu. I liked it, started finding myself in it, and then in September I did my first MMA fight. And I fell in love with MMA. I won the fight, thankfully, and I said, ‘I’m going to keep going, because I have a knack for this.’ It worked. I didn’t train in MMA at first – I only trained jiu-jitsu. My first fight, I did only jiu-jitsu training. For my debut, I only did striking one week before the fight.”
Originally, Andrade didn’t even want to be an MMA fighter.
“My dream was to be a soccer player, like (women’s soccer star) Marta – the best in the world,” Andrade said. “But we know that women’s soccer is very under-appreciated. Women are not that appreciated in almost every sport. But in MMA, today we have our space. Thanks to Ronda (Rousey), thanks to Amanda Nunes, who’s representing us very well, and even Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), we’ve been claiming our space. But with soccer, I really wanted to be the best in the world. I told my mom, ‘Mom, I’ll be the best in the world and you’ll see.’ Since it wasn’t at soccer, it’s going to have to be in MMA.”
UFC Fight Night 104 takes place on Saturday, February 4 from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas with Dennis Bermudez and Chan Sung Jung headlining.