Away from the Octagon ever since March 2018 due to torn knee ligaments, undefeated women’s bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira wants to step back into the Octagon at least one time before 2019 is over.
In an interview with Combate, the 28-year-old explained how her financial situation during the year and a half layoff took a turn for the worse, but she could count on her coach and Nova Uniao leader, Andre Pederneira, as well as her family, to go through the trying times.
“When I remember everything I went through, frustration,” Vieira said. “A number of things happened, it wasn’t just not fighting. When you’re an UFC athlete, you only get paid when you fight, if I’m not fighting, I’m unemployed. I’m unemployed in Rio de Janeiro, which is an expensive city. I had no support, no sponsors, no health plan. If it weren’t for Dede, who paid for my surgery, I wouldn’t have gone through it yet. I had no money, I couldn’t train.
“I need to be well to fight. How can I make money if I don’t fight? The UFC only pays me when I fight, I was unemployed for one and a half years, getting by with the help of my teachers, family and people who really care about me.”
Fortunately for Vieira, she has been cleared to begin training again and believes he will be able to perform before the years come to an end. In fact, Ketlen wants to be on the same card as her division’s champion, Amanda Nunes, UFC 245, on December 14.
“The UFC has been trying to get me back in there for a while, they wanted October, August,” Vieira said. “They were the ones who told Dede, who is my manager as well as my coach, that they wanted me on December 14. We are waiting for a contract and an opponent, because I have it in my head that I’ll fight on December 14. I’ll fight whoever they give, I’m sure they’ll find a tough fighter. I’ll be 100% prepared, I just time in advance for my camp.”
Away from the Octagon since a split decision win over Cat Zingano, the last woman to defeat Amanda Nunes, Ketlen does believe she might give the champion some trouble should they ever share the Octagon one day. In Vieira’s opinion, her Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills could prove to be the way to dethrone the ‘Lioness’.
“I believe in my team a lot,” Vieira said. “I have a coach who has great insights. If Amanda remains the champion, I believe my arsenal can give her some trouble. If we look at the numbers, she has four losses, all on the ground, which is my area of expertise. She is really dangerous, her first round is really strong. If you can endure it, take your time between the first and the second, we will rise above her.”
Ketlen Vieira (10-0) debuted in the UFC back in October 2016 with a split decision win over Kelly Faszholz, which she followed up with three more victories, over the likes of Ashlee Evans-Smith, Sara McMann and Cat Zingano.