Amanda Ribas Exclusive: A Maycee Barber win will give me a title shot

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UFC Flyweight contender and Ambassador, Amanda Ribas spoke about her upcoming match-up with Maycee Barber and hopes for a spot in the top five Women’s Flyweight division, as well as a title shot with a win. She also hails Amanda Nunes as MMA’s GWOAT upon retirement and gave her prediction on a potential superfight with Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou.

Q. What are your predictions for the fight against Maycee Barber?

AR: I predict that the referee will raise my hand on Saturday against Maycee Barber, because I have been training a lot in Virginia and I know that I have never put this amount of work into a camp before and had this amount of energy with my teammates.

I know this match will be full of fire because I have put everything in to win.

Q. Do you think a win puts you in line for a title shot?

AR: I hope that a win over Maycee Barber will give me a title shot. I know that a win will put me in the top five Flyweights for sure.

Depending on how the fight goes or how I win, my next fight could be for the title.

Q . You have previously said that Alexa Grasso will beat Valentina Shevchenko in a rematch? Do you think Valentina’s time is done and she should retire?

AR: I don't think it is Valentina Shevchenko's time to retire at all. She is only 35 years old.

I think she is really healthy, she sells fights really well and I don't think she will retire right now.

Q. Who would you prefer to fight for the Flyweight title, Shevchenko or Grasso?

AR: In regards to fighting either Alexa Grasso or Valentina Shevchenko, my vision is currently on Alexa Grasso as she is the Flyweight World Champion.

If Valentina beats Grasso in a rematch, then I will shift my focus accordingly and fight Valentina.

Alexa Grasso will be the better fighter for me.

With Grasso I will be able to take her to the ground, find her back and make her tap out just like she did to Valentina Shevchenko!

Q. What are your thoughts on Amanda Nunes’ retirement?

AR: I am a big fan of Amanda Nunes, as well as Nina Ansaroff and their family. Amanda deserves retirement.

However, she will come back for the right fight - for example: the next best thing in terms of women's MMA is coming up and nobody can beat her, then she will definitely come back for that.

Q. Can you call Amanda Nunes the GWOAT, or are there other women who deserve that status more?

AR: Amanda Nunes is for sure the GWOAT in the history of combat sports. Ronda Rousey paved the way for a lot of women in the UFC, but Amanda beat everyone.

She is a great athlete and smart fighter, and she has a very good fight IQ and vision that is very difficult to have in the octagon.

For me she is the GWOAT.

Q. Should Nunes have given Juliana Pena her rematch before retiring?

AR: I think Amanda deserves her retirement and doesn't need to come back against Juliana Pena to prove herself.

The only way that Amanda comes back is if there is another strong up and coming female who is deemed unstoppable and there is no one left to beat her.

This will probably then trigger Amanda to come out of retirement and fight.

Q. In a fantasy Match up, do you beat Amanda Nunes?

AR: As I am fired up and ready to go for my fight on Saturday, I can say ''Yes! I will beat Amanda Nunes.''

However, Amanda is my friend and it is a pleasure to watch her and I have no intentions of fighting her.

Q. Dana White has hinted at retiring the Women’s Featherweight Division. In contrast, it seems like the Flyweight division has more contenders than ever. Do you think it was good for the growth of the division that Grasso beat Shevchenko?

AR: It was great that Alexa Grasso beat Valentina for the title because it changed the game.

People can see that it is not just Strawweights that have good fighters, but Flyweights also have good quality competition too.

It is not just about the top five anymore. The top five are excellent and so are the top 10 and 15 of the division.

There are very good strikers and fighters who have a very good ground game also.

Q. Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are currently coaches on The Ultimate Fighter and are set to fight. Who do you think wins in their future bout?

AR: I am loving this season of The Ultimate Fighter so far! I think both Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler have a lot of heart when they are fighting.

Both of their fighting styles are also very good and exciting to watch.

It is difficult to pick a winner but I think McGregor will beat Chandler because of his mentality.

His mentality is really good.

Q. You have recently stopped OnlyFans after you said ‘’Sexy photos aren’t your vibe.’’ Why do you think some of your fellow MMA and combat sports fighters have taken that route in order to build more capital?

AR: With OnlyFans, there is a lot of money that people will pay to see that kind of content.

I, myself, wouldn't like to take ''sexy pictures'' as it is not my vibe.

But there is a different side of OnlyFans where I can take pictures of my fight camps, my house and what I do on my weekends.

These are the things my fans would want to see and I may take this route because I like to build a connection with my fans.

But posting sexy content is not my vibe.

Q. Does it mean that the UFC needs to be more attentive to its female fighters?

AR: The UFC treats me like a princess. I like how they take care of all the fighters.

As I'm currently at the hotel ahead of my fight, the UFC staff always ask me if I need anything and are always checking up on me.

I believe they treat women very well - not just the women but the men too.

Q. Featherweight prospect Illia Topuria will headline the main event against Josh Emmett. If he wins, do you think he also beats his rival Paddy ‘’The Baddy’’ Pimblett?

AR: I am very excited for the fight between Josh Emmett and Ilia Topuria - it will be a huge fight, and I'm not just saying this because I am the co main-event.

I think Ilia Topuria has good hands, he is a great fighter and the winner of this bout will go to the top.

If Topuria and Paddy ''The Baddy'' Pimblett ever fight each other, Topuria will win the fight.

I say this because as much as I like to watch fights, I like following the fighters too.

What they do in their camps, how they train, etc. I see the fire in his eyes to win, and call me crazy but when I see this in a fighter - I always believe they are going to win!

Q. Can you tell me about your father’s influence on your career and how he reacted when you temporarily stopped grappling to take up dancing?

AR: My dad was furious! Since I was a baby, I've been a fighter. My bed was always on a mat in the gym as I often slept there.

I made fun of it because my Gi was my blanket and my gloves were my pillows.

For me my dad was my example. He is not just my Dad, he is my psychologist and stylist.

He is always correcting me saying things like ''Amanda, your hair is not good," or “Amanda, put a dress on!''

He is my everything. When I stopped fighting to dance - he asked so many questions like ''why would you do this?''

''Your friends are training, fighting and travelling and you are going to dance?''

At that point, I think I made the switch because I didn't know who I was at the time.

Am I a Woman or still a little girl? I needed to dance to discover myself. Whilst dancing, I realised I was a fighter.

All my friends were doing it and I missed it a lot.

Q. What was it like to share the cage with Paige Van Zant, was there a heated rivalry in any way?

AR: The fight with Paige VanZant was really good for my career.

It was in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island during COVID.

That was a crazy experience and time to live in.

Paige is a really good person who helped me throughout one of my training camps at American Top Team.

Her fans are also really cool.

They sent a lot of good luck messages to me.

The hype she used to get benefitted me also, so it was a really good experience.

Q. Why did you quit Only Fans, and would you advise other fighters using the site to quit as well?

AR: At first, it wasn't OnlyFans that I started with, it was a site called Fun Time - which is practically the same thing.

I think some girls like it because they often put photos on social media and they don't get paid.

If they want to receive money and they like doing it, why not?

But for me, I don't think my future husband will appreciate that!

I will only enjoy that type of content in a ''behind the scenes'' type of way where the fans will know what I do in my day to day life.

Q. If it were to ever happen, who would win in a fight between Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones?

AR: Jon Jones will beat Francis Ngannou if they ever fought.

In my last fight, he was the main event and I saw him backstage.

I didn't see him as a person, but as an athlete.

His mentality and spirit is different to anyone else's.

He is always focused and breathing, visualising what he is going to do in the ring and his team are always running around to make sure he is sorted out before a fight.

He has a really grounded circle around him, just like Amanda Nunes, he is a smart fighter.

That's why he will beat Ngannou.

Q. Do you think Francis Ngannou made the right call to leave the UFC?

AR: The way Francis Ngannou left the UFC was wrong.

As the UFC is my employer, I will never speak bad about them because they put food on my table.

How can he do that after the UFC had put him on top?

The UFC should be his best friend as a result of this.

I think he was wrong to speak ill of them.

Francis Ngannou must come back to the UFC if he wants to cement his legacy as the GOAT.

In my opinion, the best fighters in the world are in the UFC. The PFL is also a good organisation but it doesn't compare to the UFC.

Q. What made you want to leave the Strawweight division after a win? (do you notice any big differences between fighting in the different divisions?)

AR: I chose the Flyweight division over the Strawweight division because I was getting more opportunities there.

At Flyweight I will be able to accept fights within two weeks because I naturally train at that weight.

At Strawweight I would need more time to take a fight. However I hope I will be able to fight in the Strawweight division once this year as well.

The major difference between Strawweight and Flyweight is mainly my diet.

For Strawweight I would need to have a strong diet in order to make weight, whereas in Flyweight I don't have to diet as hard.

In strawweight, I think they are faster than the Flyweight division and they don't stop pushing.

Q. What will a win over Maycee Barber do for you in the division? (do you think you will try and fight one more time in 2023 depending how it goes?)

AR: Maycee Barber is really strong and has good conditioning.

She has a strong heart in The Octagon and is always looking for the finish within her fights.

This is good for me, because I like fights like this with a lot of energy.

A win against Maycee Barber will depend on how the fight goes.

If it's a boring fight - it might take me a bit longer to get to a title shot.

I hope it will be exciting and I will win. Then I will definitely be propelled into the top five.

I don't want Maycee to implement her style and her pace into the fight.

I want to establish my style, my time and my distance because if I let her dominate, it will not be good for me.

Q. What is the biggest learning experience in your career?

AR: The biggest learning curve for me is the training I have gone through. I am not training just my body, but my mind.

Sometimes I am in the gym, and I feel like I am not at my best or it hasn't been a good day, but I know that I have given my best.

I will be at home and feel the same way about training, but again, I know I have given my best.

I have learnt it is good to think like this. My teammates teach me new things all the time.

They may not be as healthy as they should be, they may be broke or they may not be that happy but they are still in the gym making everyone smile.

Take my fight against Katlyn Chookagian for example.

The doctor told me I couldn't fight because of a problem with my bicep and I began to cry because I would miss the opportunity to fight the number two Flyweight in the world.

I was going back to the gym to tell everyone what had happened.

However, when I came to the mats, everybody was smiling happily and dancing and reassured me that everything was going to be OK.

They encouraged me to fight - even if it was with one arm, or no legs and I was able to give my best performance after that.

Q. How important is it to you to be a good role model?

AR: I love to be on a platform like this where people want to listen to me.

Not just reading about me, but taking in what I say and applying it for themselves.

It is a pleasure to see this happen. I believe in good vibes and putting good things out into the world as they will come back to you.

I think young girls need this.

As they spend a lot of time on social media, we often see a perception that life is perfect and we must also show them the realities that come with fighting.

If you have a broken arm, you still fight! Bad hair, you still fight! Bad nails, you still fight! Everything is not perfect, but you all need to feel perfect.