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Vieira wants interim 135-pound title if Nunes does not defend belt soon, calls out Pena

Women’s bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira does not want to wait too long before fighting for a title.

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UFC women’s bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira wants her title shot one way or the other. After defeating two former champions in a row — Miesha Tate and Holly Holm — the Brazilian hopes to fight for a belt in the near future, be it linear or interim.

In an interview with Combate, Vieira made her case for an interim title after learning that current double champion Amanda Nunes may take a long time off before returning to the cage. Should the ‘Lioness’ decide to come back to defend the featherweight belt Vieira thinks an interim title should be in order so the division can keep on moving.

“Amanda has asked for some time off and she’s earned it, too. She fought Julianna, she lost the title and she went right back to training to win the title again. This also brings a big problem for us, because she’s a double champion, so we don’t know if she will return to defend the bantamweight or featherweight title. The UFC is a company and they will do what’s best for them. Of course I’ve earned my shot at the title. We’re waiting on Amanda’s plans, though. I don’t see anyone getting ahead of me, given the wins over two former champions that I have.”

If Nunes does return to defend ther featherweight title first, Vieira even knows who a suitable opponent for the interim title would be interesting for her potential match, another former champion in Julianna Pena.

“The only thing I don’t agree with is leaving the division hanging for too long, since it has a challenger.” Vieira said. “Let’s say Amanda goes back to featherweight, will bantamweight just be left there for a year? I don’t think she’s coming back this year. She’s on vacation in Brazil. Until she comes back and decides in which division she’s going to compete, I think there should be an interim title. A potential opponent could be Julianna Pena. Amanda said she would like the trilogy, but I think I deserve the title shot, too. I think it would be ideal to have a title fight between Pena and me for the interim belt if Amanda doesn’t come back to defend the bantamweight title.”

Currently on a two-fight winning streak, Vieira (13-2) defeated the aforementioned Holm in a controversial split decision result and Tate in a unanimous one, respectively in May 2022 at UFC Vegas 55 and November 2021 at UFC Vegas 43. Before that, 31-year-old dropped a unanimous decision to Yana Kunitskaya, in February 2021.