Jessica Andrade recently returned to strawweight and reminded fans that she's one of the most dangerous women in the world. This time around, she made history by securing the first standing arm triangle choke in the UFC.
She's a prolific finisher and has proven her mettle across two divisions by securing wins at both strawweight and flyweight. However, given that she's once held the belt at strawweight, it would be easier for her to make another run at the 115lb title instead of building herself back up at flyweight.
As the Brazilian continues her quest for greatness, there are few options for her next outing. Many big names reside in the strawweight division, and some great matchups could be made with Andrade's style and brute strength.
Here are five potential opponents for Jessica Andrade following her victorious return to strawweight:
#5. Jessica Andrade vs. Marina Rodriguez
Marina Rodriguez might have been next for the title if Carla Esparza wasn't granted the title shot. Having defeated the likes of Tecia Torres, Mackenzie Dern, and Michelle Waterson, the Brazilian has a strong case for title contention.
Inactivity is no one's friend in the UFC. Rodriguez shouldn't sit on the sidelines waiting for a shot at gold. It would behoove her to take on another challenger, and who better than a former champion?
A bout against Andrade isn't one that many are readily signing up for. She hits hard and can submit her opponents from anywhere. The fight is a tough matchup, but the value of Andrade's name would almost irrefutably grant Rodriguez her first crack at UFC gold.
If the 34-year-old could extend her win streak to five at the expense of Jessica Andrade, then it would work wonders for her career. On the flip side, Andrade putting a stop to Rodriguez's momentum would prove that she's the rightful number one contender.
#4. Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres
Though Jessica Andrade is coming off of an emphatic first-round victory, there wasn't immense value attached to Lemos' name as she's one of the fresher faces in the division's rankings, despite her win streak.
Tecia Torres was very close to title contention before Mackenzie Dern put her back in the losing column. Jessica Andrade and 'The Tiny Tornado' have met once before in 2018, and the Brazilian came out as the victor. Both fighters have improved immensely over the years, and though the result could be the same, it would be a much different fight - possibly one that the division needs.
With the strawweight peak quite bottlenecked, this fight, potentially a five-round affair, would instill some certainty in what is a tempestuous section of the UFC roster.
#3. Jessica Andrade vs. the loser of Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
This is a rematch that fans have been waiting for. When Jędrzejczyk and Weili first collided, it resulted in 2020's 'Fight of the Year' and one that will go down in history not just for female fighters but for all of MMA.
This is quite the championship trifecta. Both Zhang and Jędrzejczyk have wins over Jessica Andrade. However, the Brazilian defeated current champion Rose Namajunas, who has beaten both Zhang and Jędrzejczyk twice. This shows just how competitive and close the top strawweights are.
'Bate Estaca' having the opportunity to avenge her loss to the loser of this rematch slated for UFC 275 would serve her well and help the division immensely.
2. Jessica Andrade vs. the loser of Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza
We're less than two weeks out from Rose Namajunas defending her strawweight title in a long-awaited rematch against Carla Esparza. 'Cookie Monster' was able to secure the victory in their 2014 meeting, but 'Thug' Rose is a much different fighter now and is undefeated in rematches.
No matter how the fight plays out, Jessica Andrade is right on the heels of all involved. Namajunas is currently 1-1 against the Brazilian, so a rubber match is an excellent option for a rebound fight should the belt find a new home around Esparza's waist.
However, if the champion continues her winning ways, Esparza vs. Andrade is an exciting match. These two fighters have been at the top of the division for some time but are yet to cross paths. Esparza fighting Jessica Andrade would be a completely new fight for the division and a high-stakes one.
#1. Jessica Andrade vs. Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzie Dern is well on her way to strawweight greatness. The jiu-jitsu specialist recently defeated Tecia Torres in an incredibly exciting fight. She's improving with every performance and picking up some quality names in her win column.
Over half of her wins are by submission, but she's no one-trick pony. Her poise on the feet is becoming more evident as she evolves as a martial artist. Don't get it wrong, she can submit about anybody in the division, but she's getting to the point where she can stand with them too.
If there were ever the perfect style for Dern to test herself against, it would be Andrade's. Her hands are getting explosive, and she's brilliant in grappling exchanges. Dern said she doesn't want the title shot yet, so a former champion is a great way to prepare herself for title contention.