LAS VEGAS – Dione Barbosa didn’t hesitate.
When she got the call to compete at Dana White’s Contender Series 61 on less than a week’s notice, Barbosa didn’t even let her manager get to the question.
“When my manager called me, he was like, ‘How much do you weigh right now?'” Barbosa said. “I was like, ‘I will fight, just tell me when.'”
Barbosa said she weighed 141 pounds at the time, and she had no qualms about dropping down to the 126 women’s flyweight limit for the opportunity at a UFC contract. Barbosa took full advantage of that opportunity Tuesday when she dominated Rainn Guerrero and submitted her with an armbar at the 4:35 mark of the first round.
With that performance, Barbosa secured a UFC deal from promotion president Dana White.
“I can’t put in words what I feel like right now,” Barbosa said. “I worked so hard for this. I’m just proud of myself.”
Barbosa felt comfortable fighting inside the UFC Apex with some familiar faces in the stands – some friends and family, which included current Bellator champion and former UFC champion Cris Cyborg.
Cyborg’s presence and support during her career have meant the world to Barbosa.
“She’s inspiration for me. Cris is like my family here,” Barbosa said of her fellow Brazilian. “When I came to USA, I was staying at her house, lived there, she helped me a lot, emotional support. I had nothing when I came here. She trained a lot with me, too. So she’s inspiration for me. She’s like my family, so important to me.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Dana White’s Contender Series 61.