The significance of a victory against Miesha Tate, one of the most popular women in mixed martial arts, is not lost on Ketlen Vieira.
Vieira defeated Tate via unanimous decision in the UFC Fight Night 198 main event, derailing “Cupcake’s” comeback tour. The former bantamweight queen was making her second Octagon appearance since ending a five-year retirement that began in 2016.
“Miesha was already a champion before I could get my hands in MMA. She was already a champion, so I looked up to her,” Vieira said through a translator at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. And fighting a legend like that just makes me really believe in my skills, makes me mentally more tough and ready for the future.”
Vieira, who had lost two of three coming into the bout, regained some much-needed momentum and is confident she is back in the championship conversation.
“This victory puts me right where I want to be, back at the top, top 5,” Vieira said. “There will be a championship fight coming up soon, so I’m right where I wanted to be again. I’m back active, ready to go, and I’m looking forward to working my way back to the belt.”
Still, Vieira acknowledged that her latest performance wasn’t the most thrilling, despite the fact that she bloodied and battered Tate over the course of the 25-minute fight. Despite landing the more authoritative shots, Vieira was tentative at times during what was at times, a slow-paced affair.
That was by design, Vieira explained. The Brazilian’s last bout, closely contested decision defeat to Yana Kunitskaya, left a bad taste in her mouth.
“I was extremely cautious,” Vieira said. “I’m still very bitter about my last fight. I really believe I won. The judges didn’t. So I came here [extremely] cautious, I realize that, but I’m still very happy with my performance. The emotions have nothing to do with fighting Miesha Tate, I just was hesitant because I didn’t want to lose again. I was very cautious not to make a mistake and the fight like I did last time. I was very bitter about my last fight.
“I came in here with a lot of pent-up emotion, pent-up aggression. I respect Miesha a lot, but I fought a great fight, I believe. I fought a great fight, I’m happy with my performance.”
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