Georgian flyweight Liana Jojua wants to prove the opposite to her doubters again when she steps into the octagon against Miranda Maverick at UFC 254 on Saturday.
Jojua will enter the UFC Octagon for the third time, while her opponent will make her competitive debut after spending most of her MMA career in Invicta.
25 year old Jojua believes she is considered an outsider in her matchup but is confident in her own abilities and wants to show it too.
“I have a strong opponent, I think she is higher than me in the rankings,” she said. “I’m a pretty tough underdog in this fight, but even so, I’m very serious and I intend to beat them.
“I don’t think about it for a quick win because when you think about things like that, it never goes according to plan.
“Every win is important, no matter what fight it is. This fight is important to me too. I’ll do anything to win even though I have really tough opponents.
“I think I’m superior to her in all aspects, even though I’m the outsider. I have better wrestling than her, better on my feet. I am in no way inferior to her.
“I know that, like everyone else, she underestimates me in principle, but I think that will be the biggest mistake of not taking me seriously.
“I was the outsider in my last fight, like now… But that motivates me even more, it’s my character, I have to prove everyone wrong.
“If you think that it affects my mood that people don’t believe in me, you are seriously wrong.”
‘She Wolf’ is 8-3 in her MMA career and 1-1 since joining the UFC.
Jojua suffered her first knockout loss on her UFC debut to Sarah Moras when they met last September and looked oversized in a bantamweight match. She corrected this by dropping to 125 pounds where she scored a first round win over Diana Belbita in July.
That win marked Armbar’s fifth career win, and it took only two minutes and 43 seconds for her to win it at UFC Fight Night 172 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Also on rt.com
“Shevchenko is better than some men”: UFC’s Liana Jojua talks about ambition after impressing on Fight Island (VIDEO).
Maverick, her opponent on Saturday, has a 7-2 record in MMA and is no stranger to forcing submissions that did so on five of those wins.
The 23-year-old doctoral student, who has to balance homework and lessons with her training on Fight Island, wants to face Jojua, but remains careful with her.
“I think the UFC gave it to me to kind of welcome me to the UFC. This is how I feel about it, ”Maverick told Cageside Press. “I wouldn’t say it’s an easy fight, I never underestimate my opponents, I treat it as the toughest fight ever.”
The American, nicknamed “The Fear,” caught the eye when she won the Invicta FC Phoenix Series 2 eight-way flyweight tournament last September.
She defeated Victoria Leonardo and Shanna Young in individual round matches to reach the final, where she defeated DeAnna Bennett via a crank in the third round and avenged a loss to the veteran fighter earlier in the year.
“The tournament was one of the things that got me a lot of attention as I fought three times in one night. It gave me the fame I didn’t have, ”Maverick said of the competition that drove her to the UFC. “People recognized my name a little better, especially within the department.”
Both Jojua and Maverick soaked up the sun as they prepared for the competition on Saturday – in the case of the Georgian along with her friend and teammate Diana Avsaragova, who signed with Bellator but has not yet made her PhD debut.
Jojua and ‘Pantera’ both used the idyllic setting for photo sessions, including next to the iconic Fight Island sign on the beach.
Deal beckons Jojua on Saturday, however, as she hopes to beat her opponent – and the odds – to claim a second win at the UFC’s Fight Island paradise.