Gloria de Paula is confident she’ll be a different fighter inside the Octagon on Saturday night.
“I have changed my camp; I am back to Campinas, and we have done different training,” de Paula said. “I’ve been training more of my grappling, so I’m not a striker exclusively.”
Back in 2020, de Paula fought on Dana White’s Contender Series and earned a unanimous decision victory over Pauline Macias to secure a UFC contract. However, she hasn’t been able to claim that first UFC win yet after dropping two straight contests.
The last time fans saw the Brazilian was against Cheyenne Vlismas in July. The 26-year-old gained a lot from that loss and has been able to apply it throughout her training over the past couple months.
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“It showed a lot of mistakes in my game,” de Paula said. “It showed that my mind is really strong, and I have a power of reaction that is great, so I’m really motivated for this next one.
“I believe that I was very limited as a striker and I had a lot of gaps in my game, and now I am a complete MMA fighter.”
This weekend at UFC Fight Night: Walker vs Hill, the strawweight will look to turn things around against Diana Belbita. The 25-year-old came away with her first UFC win last time around against Hannah Goldy after dropping back-to-back fights. Belbita has earned six wins by knockout and four by submission, with five first-round finishes.
De Paula knows the challenges that Belbita presents, but she is still confident in everything she has been adding to her skillset throughout this camp.
“She’s really tough for this category and has a good reach and she’s a good striker, but I see gaps in my game, so we have used a strategy to show those gaps so I can beat her,” de Paula said. “She’s courageous; she doesn’t run away from the fight.”
In addition to improving her striking, de Paula has been extremely focused on improving her grappling game throughout this camp. In previous fights, de Paula felt confident but didn’t have all the pieces that she wanted.
She has never won a fight by submission, and that is something that she wants to change this weekend.
“My striking is my power, but I really want to show my grappling, so I think I’m going to win by submission this time,” de Paula said.
For obvious reasons, de Paula is eager to make her walk to the Octagon on Saturday night. And she is even more eager to get her hand raised at the end of the night and get that first UFC win under her belt so she can continue to rack them up.
What does she envision a UFC victory feeling like?
“I’ll feel relieved,” de Paula said. “Because I’ve had two defeats and I’ll be really happy to continue my career inside the Octagon.”
She isn’t looking to prove anything to anyone but herself. However, she is excited to show off everything that she has been working for over the past few months.
It’s time to translate from the gym to the Octagon.
“I really want to perform inside the Octagon. I’ve been training hard, and I perform inside the gym, so now it’s time perform inside the Octagon and show the world.”
UFC Fight Night: Walker vs Hill took place on Saturday, February 19, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.