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Amanda Ribas sees chance to grow stardom fighting under McGregor-Poirier at UFC 257

Amanda Ribas is trying to remain humble about her growing star power in the UFC strawweight division.

If Ribas is able to beat Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2 MMA, 2-1-2 UFC) at UFC 257 in January, though, staying grounded might prove to be a bigger challenge.

Ribas (10-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is set to fight Rodriguez on the undercard of the anticipated Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor rematch, which streams Jan. 23 on ESPN+ pay-per-view. There’s guaranteed to be a massive number of people watching because of McGregor’s presence, and that gives others a chance to resonate with a bigger audience.

The magnitude of the upcoming opportunity is not lost on Ribas, and it’s her intention to maximize it.

“It will be amazing for me as a fighter and a fan,” Ribas told MMA Junkie on Monday. “As a fighter it will be great for me because everybody is watching the card, and they will watch my fight too, and it will be amazing for me, for my sponsors, for the UFC and for everything.”

Ribas already has a lot of momentum behind her by rattling off four consecutive wins to begin her UFC tenure. Her most recent victory also was her most notable as she submitted Paige VanZant in the first round in July.

The fan support and UFC behind Ribas as a serious player at 115 have continued to pick up steam, but the Brazilian isn’t the type to buy into her own hype. She said the moment she does that, everything could fall apart.

“For me, I don’t see me as like a star,” Ribas said. “When people say, ‘Amanda, take a picture with me.’ I’m like, ‘Yes, for sure! Please.’ For me I don’t see it. I don’t know how to explain it.

“Some fighters, they put a star in their mind and think, ‘Oh, I’m the best.’ No, slow down because our life is too fast. The fighter life is too fast. We need to know who you are. You’re not the best to anybody. So you need to be humble with a good heart and good vibes. Be like me.”

Ribas originally was scheduled to fight Michelle Waterson, No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie strawweight rankings, at UFC 257. “The Karate Hottie” was forced to withdraw from the card, however, and she was replaced by No. 10  Rodriguez.

Although she would’ve like to fight Waterson, and could potentially still do so in the future, No. 11 Ribas admits she prefers the matchup with Rodriguez, as it’s a higher ranked foe.

“I like this one more because this is the one I will do,” Rodriguez said. “In my mind I want to fight really good against Marina because she is my opponent now. I’m not thinking about another person, another fighter. I’m thinking about Marina … If I get a win against Marina, I hope to go to the top in my ranks and maybe to the belt.”

After netting a quick submission win against VanZant over the summer, Ribas said her goal is to show a different look against Rodriguez. Her opponent has proven to be a major striking threat at 115, but Ribas is confident she can and will do better from that position.

“I think in my last fight I showed too much of my grappling game, so this time I try to show more of my striking,” Ribas said. “I train so hard for this, and Marina is a really good fighter in the striking game, so I will try to do my striking too because I train for that.”

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