Ketlen Vieira

Ketlen Vieira feeling fooled but confident she’s next in line for Amanda Nunes

After delivering another impressive performance against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes openly declared in a post fight interview:

Ketlen Vieira is definitely next, and I will be ready.”

Now with a month passed since hearing those words from the UFC women’s bantamweight empress, Vieira hasn’t forgotten them, but after seeing Holly Holm defeat Megan Anderson soundly at UFC 225 a couple of weeks ago, she now fears she’ll be passed over in the rankings for the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

With the win over Anderson, Holm has also created two possible options for herself in terms of championship opportunities. One would be a highly anticipated Cris Cyborg rematch, the other would be a highly intriguing bout with Amanda Nunes.

Nunes, although she originally claimed Vieira to be her next challenger, now seems to have changed her stance as apparently the thought of facing Holly Holm has sparked the interest of the UFC women’s bantamweight champion which she made known via her twitter.

“Let’s do it Holly Holm,” Nunes wrote.

Angered by the notion of potentially losing her golden opportunity at the title having been 4-0 in the UFC along with a victory against for title contender Cat Zingano, Vieira spoke out about the matter in a interview with MMA Fighting.
”My team and I worked really hard for this opportunity,” Vieira said. “They want to put her and Holly, but we’ve worked hard to get there. If I’m the No. 2 in the ranking that’s because of my work, not because the UFC kept me there like they did with Holly Holm. I have a lot of respect for Holly Holm, she was the champion. I respect every fighter, but you can’t simply move up and down in weight and leapfrog me. The only girl she’s beaten recently at bantamweight is Bethe Correia, who I have a lot of respect for as well, but she’s the No. 10 in the ranking. (Holm) had two losses, beats Bethe and stays at No. 1? That’s illogical. (Nunes’ team) say she’s (next because she’s) the No. 1, but it’s easy to stay at No. 1 beating the No. 10 and the UFC keeping you there.
”Amanda Nunes said I would be next. I honor my word, I have character, my family taught me to honor my word. As a champion and an example for thousands and thousands of Brazilians, she should honor her word. If she had no interest in fighting me, she shouldn’t have said many, many times that I was next. I’m coming off a win over Cat Zingano, the only woman to beat her in the UFC. I wasn’t out there saying I was next, she said it, she said I deserved it because I was coming off a win over Cat Zingano.

”I’m coming off four wins in the UFC. Four. Four! It looks like Holly Holm’s record has chickenpox with all those red spots. The UFC is really trying to benefit her. She goes up and down in weight, does whatever she wants, and every time she fights is a title fight now? She fought (Germaine) de Randamie, she fought Cyborg, and now she wants to come back to 135? That’s not fair to me and other bantamweights. It’s disrespectful. Amanda has only defended her belt three times. There are good athletes in the division. That’s not cool. My team is with me, they believe I’m ready for a title fight. I’ve been evolving a lot in the grappling and striking area. I’m only 26. The longer it takes, I’m only getting better. I’m saying I deserve it because she said I would be next, and now Holly wins a fight and they want her because it will sell more pay-per-views? It’s not how it should be. We have to have honor and not think only about money.”

”Everybody sees that’s the reason,” Vieira said. “The last event they did in Brazil was the worst pay-per-view, so it’s clear that they want that. She wants that, or a superfight with Cris Cyborg, because that will sell pay-per-views. She doesn’t think about when she was the No. 2 and wanted to become champion. She’s killing everyone’s dreams, holding the division, fighting once a year. That’s not fair.”

”If you talk to someone who really understands about MMA, no doubt that I should be the No. 1 in the ranking,” she continued. “It’s funny that everyone goes down in the ranking, drops off, and they keep Holly there. She’s coming off a win over the No. 10 and stays at No. 1. Who has a longer winning streak at bantamweight than me? That’s unfair. The UFC ranking is unfair. I don’t know why they have a ranking if they don’t follow it.”

“Fenomeno” is willing to get back inside the Octagon whenever is better for the American Top Team star. If the UFC decides to go with Nunes-Holm instead, she will leave her future in her coaches’ hands.

”I’ve worked really hard to get here,” Vieira said. “What if an upset happens and I lose and have to work my way up again? That’s up to my team, if I’m fighting again or waiting. I see myself as the next contender because of what the champion said and all the opponents I’ve beaten. I want my chance, man. If it doesn’t happen now, I’ll leave it to my team to decide.”

The undefeated brazilian also stated that while she definitely respects the other competitors in her division, she admits the championship drama that’s happening currently is lighting a heavy fire inside of her.

”That makes me hungrier because I feel fooled because she created this expectation by saying I would be next and I trusted her because I honor my word,” Vieira said. “If I say something, I’ll honor that. That made me upset, but even more motivated.”