Ribas competed three times at flyweight over the past 24 months, walking out 10 pounds heavier than the weight limit she has to reach Friday morning in Las Vegas. She joked on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast she would definitely be “better fed” as a flyweight.
However, she sees advantages in suffering.
“My dad told me that way back then that in order to train dogs for dog fighting, they had to bury a pitbull with only his head out and keep it in there with no food, throwing blood on its face, so it would be more bloodthirsty,” Ribas said. “I think that’s what happens [when we cut weight], you know? I keep seeing food everywhere [laughs].”
“And we do smell blood all the time in training,” she added. “When I take my leash off and I’m hungry, stronger, I’m going for the kill. When we do a harder weight cut — the right way, not in a crazy manner —, I do think we get more focused and hungrier to win.”
The 30-year-old talent was victorious in her previous strawweight bout, a decision over Virna Jandiroba in October 2021. She envisions matches with Yan Xiaonan or Carla Esparza next in 2024 if she beats Pinheiro. She, however, is open to more bouts at flyweight down the line.
“If a good opportunity comes, I’ll definitely go to flyweight as well,” Ribas said. “Like that fight with Katlyn Chookagian, ranked No. 1 at the time. I’ll say yes to that, and keep fighting at strawweight. I only can’t go to bantamweight because that’s too much for me [laughs]. But who knows, maybe Ronda [Rousey] returns… I’d get fat for that, no problem [laughs].”
Ribas looks to rebound from a TKO defeat to Maycee Barber, a loss that forced her go under the knife to fix an orbital bone fracture, and she said Pinheiro “will have to pay” for all those inconveniences — and for “trying to steal my dream and my prize” at the UFC APEX on Saturday night.
“I think she may try to stand with me, but I also think she will try to take me down,” Ribas said of Pinheiro, a fellow judoka who won three straight in the UFC against Randa Markos, Sam Hughes and Michelle Waterson-Gomez. “She has done all that in her other fights, going forward with all she got for a takedown, so I think she might try to do that again.”