Jessica Andrade made her strawweight debut in June 2016. On May 11, 2019, in her second attempt to claim UFC gold, Andrade was crowned the UFC strawweight champion. She won that title with a slam knockout of Rose Namajunas. Andrade’s run at 115 pounds ended with back-to-back losses to Zhang Weili and Namajunas in 2019 and 2020. Following a three-fight run at flyweight, where she went 2-1, Andrade returned to the 115-pound division on Saturday night. The 30-year-old made a statement in the headlining bout of UFC Vegas 52.
In that contest, Andrade used her strength, situational awareness and skill to secure the first standing arm-triangle choke submission in UFC history, stopping Amanda Lemos at the 3:13 mark of the opening stanza.
The victory, which was her 14th with the UFC — tying Amanda Nunes for most among women in the UFC — should put the former champion right back in the mix in the strawweight division.
After her eighth UFC submission win — which puts her second to Nunes, who has 10, among UFC women fighters — Andrade spoke about her three-fight foray at 125 pounds, her return to strawweight and her goal of regaining a UFC title.
“I had two rough weight cuts in my last fights at strawweight, and that is what prompted me to fight at flyweight,” Andrade said at the UFC Vegas 52 post-fight press conference. “Things weren’t going well, my head wasn’t in a good place. It was a little traumatic, the last two ones I had. So we decided to just take a break. Let’s give it some time, let’s do something in a weight class above. Let’s just remove weight cutting from your mind for a little bit.
“As well as things went at flyweight, strawweight is where I’m going to excel at. I know I can to do well at flyweight, I know that I can beat a bunch of girls at bantamweight. But if I want to be champion again, strawweight is the place to be.”