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SAITAMA, Japan – On top of proving her position as likely the second best strawweight in the world, Jessica Andrade had another message she wanted to get across when stepping in the octagon with Claudia Gadelha at UFC Fight Night 117.

Andrade (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC), who earned a lopsided unanimous decision win on Friday over her fellow former title challenger Gadelha (15-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC), believes in the ideology of remaining loyal to one gym and coaching staff. That’s something her opponent has not done.

After spending the majority of her career with Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Gadelha recently switched teams to Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M. It paid off with back-to-back wins, but then Andrade handed her a dominant defeat by scorecards of 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27 in the FXX-televised co-headliner at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Andrade trains out of Parana Vale Tudo in Parana, Brazil, and she said at UFC Fight Night 117’s post-fight news conference that her performance was a product of staying true to her team.

“The big thing here is I believe that I showed the world that, with this win, I can prove to everybody that you don’t need to leave your hometown, you don’t need to leave your country to become a better fighter,” Andrade said. “Everything I did, I did in Brazil. I’m a Brazilian. I represent Brazil. I train there, and I’m going to be a champion from Brazil. I want to be just like ‘Minotauro’ (Nogueira). He did his whole career in Brazil, and he did amazing just staying there and working with what he’s got. I’m never going to forget my roots, and that’s where I’m going to be.”

Andrade’s victory was a strong way to bounce back from a title-fight loss to 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) at UFC 211 in May. Although impressive, Andrade was realistic in her position in the division, acknowledging that a rematch with Jedrzejczyk is not in the immediate future.

For now, Andrade said she hopes to overtake the spot as No. 2 contender in the latest USA TODY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings. She wants to hold down that spot until another championship opportunity comes up, and she’s willing to do that against a top name like Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC).

“I hope I get to go to No. 1 in the rankings. Hopefully that’s what happened with the win,” Andrade said. “As far as my next fight goes, I was asking the UFC to fight Karolina (Kowalkiewicz) in Poland, maybe do a main event there, a co-main event. But she chose to fight some new girl (Jodie Esquibel) that they just brought in. If she wins (at UFC Fight Night 118 on Oct. 21), I would like to fight her there.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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