Sitting in front of the camera during UFC’s fight week interview, Amanda Ribas couldn’t contain the excitement for her upcoming co-main event bout against Maycee Barber at UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs Topuria.
While Ribas always brings a positive atmosphere to her fight weeks, this time it felt even more amplified ahead of her first co-headliner. Not only will it be a thrilling clash between Top 15 contenders in a stacked 125-pound division, but the card will be featured on ABC for the fifth time in UFC history, providing Ribas with an opportune moment to put all her skills on display.
“This is amazing for me,” Ribas said. “This is my first time as a co-main event. I thank my team for the road here and that it’s possible when you believe and trust in your training, and I can’t wait to show everyone [what I’ve been] training and how I fight.”
In March, Ribas capped off a 10-month layoff with an impressive win over Viviane Araujo, helping her crack into the flyweight Top 10. That same night, the 125-pound division was turned on its head after Alexa Grasso stunned mixed martial arts fans around the globe with a fourth-round submission win over the division’s most prolific champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Ribas, a two-division UFC athlete competing at strawweight and flyweight, felt that the timing and magnitude of this bout against Barber was too big to pass up.
“It is a strong division,” Ribas said of the flyweights. “The girls, the fighters, they’re showing this. It’s not just the Top 5 that is strong; The whole division is really good, is really strong and can change all the time.”
“It is a huge opportunity for me [to fight Barber]. The UFC is giving me this opportunity at flyweight and I’m taking it. If the UFC offered me a fight at strawweight I can do that, too, but I’d need more time to cut weight. At flyweight, I can take fight in two weeks, one week, fast.”
In the four months since her fight with Araujo, Ribas has focused on bulletproofing her mind in training to help her stay focused and on track during exhaustive training camps. While rewatching the fight, Ribas was happy to see improvements in many areas of her game but still feels she’s a long way from a perfect fighter.
“I need to train more and more and more, all the time,” Ribas said. “When I watch the fight, I see good points that I got better at, and I see weak points where I need to be better. I did the training and I hope when I see this fight again, I see good points getting better.”
These improvements will be tested against a streaking Barber who’s won four straight fights since losing to future champion Grasso in 2021. While both athletes have the ability to take the fight to the mat and grapple, it doesn’t sound like either has that in their plans.
“If you’ve watched her fights, you would know that she likes to go [forward] and, at the same time, if you watch my fights, I love to go out and just swing and throw and give it everything I have,” Barber said.
And despite her charismatic personality, Ribas has full intentions on meeting Barber in the center of the Octagon with vicious intent and letting her hands do the talking.
“When you’re happy, you relax,” Ribas said. “So, when you’re relaxed, you can be a crazy fighter and my opponents don’t expect it and what I can do because I’m happy, so, I will trust in my jab, I will trust in my elbow, and the more malicious fighter is the happy one because I’m enjoying it.
“This fight will be a fight with fire inside the cage. Not just because I have fire in my eyes when I fight, but she does, too.”