Jennifer Maia: I take MMA as my sport, where it teaches me to face barriers, values and the will to be better in life.

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Jennifer Maia is currently the world ranked No. 1 female flyweight and is also one of the most decorated Brazilian female fighters today. The Chute Boxer holds a record of 14-4-1, which includes wins over the likes of MMA pioneer Roxanne Modafferi, one of the pound for pound best female fighters Jessica Andrade, MMA legend Vanessa Porto and many more. She will be putting her title and ranked 1 flyweight crown on the line against Polish hot-prospect Agnieszka Niedzwiedz in the main event of Invicta FC 26 on December 8th. Ahead of this high profile match up she took time out to answer a few questions.

Paarth Pande: How did your journey as an athlete begin? When you look behind and realize that this is how far you have come, how does it feel? What according to you is your greatest achievement?

Jennifer Maia: I started training Muay Thai through the incentive of friends. I feel very happy and a woman held professionally and personally. My biggest achievement is being the Invicta champion.

PP: An opinion which comes out again and again is that MMA isn’t meant for women. As someone who practices MMA and has many fans, what are your thoughts on the thoughts of people who refuse to accept that women too can fight?

JM: I ignore these thoughts and let the people learn to admire our work.

PP: You have been a part of MMA for over 8 years now. What are your thoughts on the evolution of women MMA? Do you think that women MMA fighters have cemented their spot in the main stream media?

JM: Women have evolved a lot with spectral struggles in techniques and will. Certainly women have conquered their space within the MMA.

PP: Who do you think are the top 5 greatest women MMA fighters of all time? Why?

JM: I think Cris Cyborg, Rouse Rousey, Miesha Tate, Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Holly Holm are the greatest women MMA fighters of all time, because through their great fights they made the world know the female MMA.

PP: MMA is notoriously known for being a negative sport. Time and again athletes have quit the sport because of the draining negativity the sport has around it. Despite this you have always managed to stay positive. How?

JM: I take MMA as my sport, where it teaches me to face barriers, values ​​and the will to be better in life. Each one identifies with something that makes him happy; the MMA makes me happy so I will live it until it makes me happy.

PP: You have faced some of the best fighters of all time. Who are your top 5 opponents? What made them the best you have faced?

JM: Roxanne Modafferi, Leslie Smith, Zoila Frasuto and Jessica Bates Stake are my toughest opponents. They are fighters of great experience and beautiful career.

PP: You last fought on Invicta FC 19 that was almost over 14 months ago. What was the reason for such a long break?

JM: I was recovering from an injury.

PP: In your next fight you face Agnieszka Niedzwiedz. How does it feel facing her? How do you see this fight going?

JM: I feel happy because I will fight with someone talented. I feel well prepared to come out victorious.

PP: The UFC will crown its inaugural champion on December 1, 2017. What are your thoughts on the inaugural match up? Why didn’t you take part in TUF 26? Who do you think can win the tournament?

JM: I really like the flyweight category in the UFC, it’s another opportunity. I did not participate in TUF because I have a commitment to Invicta. I think Roxanne can win.

PP: Do you plan on to move to the UFC after Invicta Fc 26?

JM: I’ll wait for a good proposal.

PP: UFC straw-weight champion Joanna and bantamweight contender Valentina have been regarded as the flyweight division’s top stars. What are your thoughts on it? What do you think of Joanna and Valentina as fighters?

JM: I have great admiration for both of them, they are good fighters. They are big challenges in the category.

PP: One of the most discussed topics in MMA today is fighter pay. What are your thoughts on the pay made by an average MMA fighter? What are your thoughts on fighter union? Will you join the union if given a chance?

JM: I wish it would get better. I cannot survive just from the fight, I have to keep up with other jobs and we have a lot of expenses in preparation. I will join union if I am to improve it for everyone. 

PP: A message for your fans.

JM: Thank you for the affection of all who cheer for me. I’m getting ready to give another show to everyone who accompanies my work. Hugs  

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