UFC

Jessica Andrade explains why she wants one more fight before facing Joanna Jedrzejczyk

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Jessica Andrade of Brazil celebrates after defeating Joanne Calderwood of Scotland in their strawweight bout during the UFC 203 event at Quicken Loans Arena on September 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Jessica Andrade of Brazil celebrates after defeating Joanne Calderwood of Scotland in their strawweight bout during the UFC 203 event at Quicken Loans Arena on September 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jessica Andrade is looking for a fight.

The No. 5 ranked strawweight contender was supposed to compete at UFC 207 last week in Las Vegas, but two different opponents were unable to take the bout so Andrade was left in the lurch with no fight and no paycheck.

Since her fight was cancelled it was revealed that Andrade was actually offered a chance to face strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk but she ultimately asked for one more bout. According to Andrade it has nothing to do with fearing Jedrzejczyk but instead the financial constraints of a championship training camp, especially after she didn't get paid for the fight at UFC 207.

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"What we have heard is that Joanna wants to get back around April. So the sooner we're able to get this fight done, the better," Andrade told FOX Sports. "That's the thing some people are saying that we turned down a title fight but we just had a fight cancelled. What we want is the fight that got cancelled to get rebooked so we can make that money we were supposed to make and the money can go towards making sure I'm going to be 100-percent to take that belt to Brazil.

"We're not in this to become another title defense for Joanna. If we're going to do this, we're going to do this proper and we're going there to take the belt."

It was an unfortunate turn of circumstances for Andrade, who has gone 2-0 since dropping down to 115 pounds with impressive finishes over Jessica Penne and Joanne Calderwood in consecutive fights.

Andrade is excited about fighting for a UFC title but after investing in a training camp for a fight that never happened, she needs to compete again to afford what it will take to get ready for a champion like Jedrzejczyk.

"There was a lot of investment in the camp (for UFC 207) and now there's nothing to show for it," Andrade said. "There was stuff that was learned throughout the process that is going to stick but we are going to have to start against from scratch for the next bout.

"In the end, the big thing although the year was good, if the UFC really wants us to fight for the title and that's what has been told to us, we'd really want one more fight to capitalize and make sure we have the money to invest in a proper camp for the title fight when that happens."

Andrade says she's ready to accept a fight immediately so she can get another win and more importantly another paycheck to truly get ready for Jedrzejczyk later this year.

While Andrade is happy to fight anybody the UFC will pit her against, the matchup she wants the most is a showdown with former strawweight champion Carla Esparza.

Esparza has been out of action since April when she won a unanimous decision over Juliana Lima and most recently had gone through some financial hardships while sitting on the sidelines waiting for her next fight.

Andrade criticized Esparza for complaining about money while refusing tougher fights against her or top ranked contender Claudia Gadelha and that's why she wants to get into the Octagon to settle this grudge once and for all.

"If it was up to me, I would want to fight Carla (Esparza) cause let's be honest, everybody is tired of hearing her complain about how she doesn't have any money," Andrade said. "A problem with this, a problem with that, how she has to pay her taxes and she doesn't have any money left. Meanwhile, everybody is working here and trying really hard to make their ends meets so it's not like she's the only one that has any problems.

"In the end, I think she needs to fight someone that is higher ranked. She has been sitting on the No. 3 in the rankings for over a year not fighting anybody that is higher ranked so I think it's time that she has to prove that she deserves to be there."

Andrade also took a shot at Esparza's standing in the division, especially considering what she's actually done at 115 pounds over the last two years.

Andrade points specifically to Esparza's shortcomings in the fight with Jedrzejczyk, where she lost by second round TKO, as well as her lone bout since that time coming against a top 15-ranked opponent rather than someone currently occupying a spot in the top five.

"OK she won (The Ultimate Fighter) but what has she done after that? She lost her belt, she fought Juliana Lima, who was ranked No. 10 at the time and now she's No. 15, now she says she has a fight booked but we'll see how high ranked they are," Andrade said.

"In the end, as much as I would like to fight Carla because she was supposed to be my opponent in my strawweight debut, and for whatever reason that didn't happen because she took Juliana Lima instead I guess, we'll take anybody."

Andrade isn't picky with her opponents because if Esparza doesn't want the fight, then she's happy to take on any of the other contenders in the UFC strawweight division.

Most important to Andrade is getting a fight as soon as possible so she can re-invest her money in a training camp to face the champion later this year.

"Maryna (Moroz) was a great fight, we were happy with that. Angela (Hill) was a great fight, we were happy with that," Andrade said. "But right now I just need to fight.

"I need to make the money and I can't sit until April to fight again."