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UFC Fight Night 235’s Natalia Silva seeks breakthrough win: ‘I am here to be the champion’

LAS VEGAS – Natalia Silva wants to prove she belongs among the elite in the women’s flyweight division, and beating Viviane Araujo at UFC Fight Night 235 will go a long way toward that goal.

Silva (16-5-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has exploded onto the scene since her June 2022 octagon debut. She’s reeled off four straight wins, including two impressive TKO finishes. Now she gets a big test in a matchup with fellow Brazilian Araujo (12-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) on Saturday at the UFC Apex (ESPN+), and she intends to show more of what she’s capable of.

“I am so happy for this – I have been working my whole life for this,” Silva told MMA Junkie and other reporters through an interpreter at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 235 media day. “I am living a dream and I am here to be the champion. I am working to achieve this.

“She’s a strong fighter. She has great grappling and is an experienced girl. It is a hard challenge for me, but I am working, I am training a lot to give my best.”

Silva, 26, an honorable mention in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie strawweight rankings, will have the chance to elevate her stock against No. 13-ranked Araujo. She knows there’s still work to be done to reach the top, but she already thinks her skillset is at a championship level.

“(I don’t know) if UFC thinks I am right (for a title shot) – because I am in my mind,” Silva said. “I think I am really ready because I am working a lot for this. I am here to be the champion and you guys can believe in that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 235.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie