Ketlen Vieira says ‘hunger’ is key over Holly Holm at UFC Vegas 55

Ketlen Vieira has always dreamed of headlining a UFC event one day.

Now she’s about to fight in her second straight main event against another former UFC champion.

Speaking on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca, Vieira admitted that she didn’t imagine landing a matchup against Holly Holm after a decision victory over Miesha Tate this past November, however she believes Saturday’s UFC Vegas 55 matchup only makes sense as she continues her climb up the bantamweight rankings.

“Holly is a very experienced athlete,” Vieira said. “If you look at the number of fights I’ve had so far, she might have that many five-round fights alone. She has a ton of experience, but my advantage is my hunger. My hunger to get where she’s gotten, to have an opportunity to become champion or to fight for a belt. That’s my advantage.”

Asked if Holm may not have as much “hunger” after coming up short in her past three UFC title bouts against Germaine de Randamie, Cris Cyborg, and Amanda Nunes, Vieira said “an athlete of Holly’s caliber never loses ambition” and it would be silly to count her out.

“I think she does want to become champion again,” she said. “She’s coming in motivated. She’s an athlete with a big name and will never come to a fight to lose or thinking she will lose. I think she’s hungry and bringing all her weapons, just like I am, to go for another title fight.”

After emerging victorious in the first 25-minute fight of her MMA career over Tate, and becoming “more mature not only as an athlete but also as a person,” Vieira promised she won’t look past Holm for a potential shot at the winner of Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes 2 for the UFC’s bantamweight title.

“I don’t like to think too much about what comes after,” Vieira said. “It was proven in my life that it doesn’t work for me. I’m thinking about the now, about Holly. If I don’t get past her, what am I going to do? I’ll have to start over, right? I’ll have to sit down with my team and start over. So I’m only focused on her.

“It was hard to prepare for this fight for many factors,” Vieira continued. ”She’s an experienced athlete who’s used to fighting five rounds. She’s a southpaw, and there aren’t many like her in the division. She has good takedown defense too, if you watch her fights. She hasn’t been taken down that much. It was a very difficult camp, but, in the end, it was very good. My team and I are very happy with the way we finished this camp.”