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Virna Jandiroba wants No. 1 contender fight after UFC Atlantic City — or title shot straight away


Virna Jandiroba wants to insert her name in the strawweight title conversation by beating Loopy Godinez at UFC Atlantic City.

The former Invicta FC strawweight champion told MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca that she enters the cage on Saturday as a “more mature” fighter following decision wins over Angela Hill and Marina Rodriguez. She hopes ending Godinez’s four-fight UFC winning streak sets up something big for her next step.

“I don’t know what the UFC plans are but I want someone ranked higher than me next,” Jandiroba said. “I’m fighting Lupita now, and she’s ranked behind me. I accept every fight the UFC offers me, no questions asked, and I think the least they could do is give me someone ranked higher. I want to fight for the belt. The plan remains the same. That’s what I want, to fight someone higher ranked or for the belt. I’m ready.”

Jandiroba said she expects Zhang Weili to remain champion over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 300 and sees Jessica Andrade — who meets Rodriguez on the April 13 card — or Amanda Lemos as potential foes to finally earn her an opportunity for gold.

“Tatiana [Suarez] could also be a possibility, but I don’t know for how long she will stay out,” said Jandiroba, who was scheduled to face Suarez in August 2023 before suffering a knee injury. Suarez injured her knee months later too. “We have this history already so that could be a possibility. But the two possibilities I see right now are Jessica, in case she wins, or Amanda.”

Godinez enters UFC Atlantic City coming off four wins in a row over Cynthia Calvillo, Emily Ducote, Elise Reed and Tabatha Ricci, but Jandiroba likes the matchup stylistically.

“I think she will try to keep it standing, but the mindset changes a lot during the fight,” Jandiroba said. “We go out with a plan but it changes. I’m ready for that, even though she has traded more in her recent fights. She’s a good wrestler with good grappling so she might try that as well. I think we’ll go to the ground somehow. I trust my jiu-jitsu but I’ve obviously worked on my striking, especially since the circumstances, my injuries, had me train that more.”

The 30-year-old Mexican talent has never been finished as a professional, with all three of Godinez’s UFC defeats coming via decision. But that doesn’t mean she’s unstoppable.

“She obviously leaves openings,” Jandiroba said. “I’ve seen positions [in previous fights] that I would obviously spend more time in because it’s comfortable for me. We’ll find out Saturday. There are always holes and openings, just like I have in my game.”

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