liz-carmouche-4.jpgSEATTLE – Liz Carmouche got a slot in a UFC pay-per-view headliner, nearly pulled off a major championship upset, and strangers since have approached her to tell her she’s their role model. But she’s not satisfied.

As much as her octagon debut at UFC 157 changed her life, and as proud as she is to inspire a new wave of female fighters, she still has one goal on her mind.

“Hopefully after this fight, it’ll put me right back as being a contender for the belt,” she told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

“This fight” is a matchup with fellow bantamweight Jessica Andrade (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 8 at Seattle’s KeyArena, where Carmouche (8-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) gets a spot on the FOX-televised main card.

Initially, Carmouche was slated to fight Miesha Tate at Saturday’s event. However, when Tate was selected to replace injured Cat Zingano and coach opposite champion and rival Ronda Rousey on “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” she was left without an opponent. In fact, Carmouche feared the bout might be scrapped completely from the card.

“I’m grateful that the UFC kept the fight,” she said. “I wish it had been Miesha, but I’m glad I’m still in the UFC fighting.”

Initially, the former Marine wasn’t really familiar with Andrade, but after doing her research, she learned plenty about the UFC’s fourth youngest fighter. What Carmouche found was a 21-year-old who owns a 9-2 record with nine stoppages (five submissions and four knockouts). The busy schedule and success at such an early age told her a lot.

“That’s someone who’s hungry to be in this place and to be doing this,” Carmouche said. “She’s really talented, really powerful. She may be short, but she packs a good punch. She’s good at jiu-jitsu too.”

Carmouche, though, feels well-prepared. As was well-documented before her high-profile fight with Rousey, which garnered both women (and the UFC) a flood of mainstream attention, Carmouche led a spartan existence while training and working at Team Hurricane Awesome in San Diego. Before her fight with Rousey, Carmouche had one dedicated female training partner. Now? She has 10.

They all call Carmouche a role model, which is something she never expected but has learned to embrace. But Carmouche said her MMA career is still focused on one thing: winning the title.

First, though, she needs to get past Andrade. She then needs to watch UFC 168's title fight between Rousey and Tate, and hope that she gets the winner.

As for who that opponent could be?

“I don’t feel it’s going to be any different this time,” Carmouche said of the bout, referring to Rousey’s 2012 Strikeforce win over Tate. “I’m sure Miesha is preparing differently, and I certainly hope that helps her. But I honestly think Ronda is going to come out with the win again.”

For the latest on UFC on FOX 8, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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