A UFC debut can’t get much rougher than the one that new UFC flyweight, Priscila Cachoeira had to go through last month.
The undefeated Brazilian newcomer, Cachoeira entered the octagon for the very first time in her home country…but in the end, that was about the only good memory to come of that night in Belem. Her opponent would be none other than the recent bantamweight title challenger and multiple time Muay Thai champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
Shevchenko entered the fight as a massive favorite and the fight showed why. She bloodied and battered Cachoeira for a round and half holding her to only three strikes to over two hundred. Shevchenko would eventually sink in a rear naked choke for the victory.
This is obviously not how Cachoeira hoped her UFC debut would go and she opened up about it to MMAJunkie after a month to reflect.
“I SPENT THREE WEEKS CRYING EVERY DAY, ALL THE TIME. I LED A VERY ACTIVE LIFE AND, SUDDENLY, I’M STUCK. BEFORE, ALTHOUGH I ALREADY TRAINED FOUR, FIVE TIMES A DAY, THE TIME I HAD AT HOME I WAS ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING. WHETHER IT WAS DOING THE LAUNDRY, MAKING DINNER, I COULD NEVER STAND STILL. SO BEING DEBILITATED, DEPENDING ON PEOPLE, NOT BEING ABLE TO WALK? I ALMOST WENT CRAZY.”
When the beatdown looked like it was enough just watching it, Cachoeira revealed after the fight that she had also torn her ACL at a point in the fight that wasn’t even Shevchenko’s doing.
“I COULDN’T WATCH MYFIGHT,BECAUSE I’D GO ONLINE AND SEE IT BEING CALLED ‘MASSACRE’ OR ‘BEATDOWN,’. I DID THE MRI. I SAW MY KNEE WAS BUSTED, THAT IT WAS SERIOUS, THAT I’D NEED SURGERY AND BE OFF FOR SIX MONTHS. IT WAS GRADUAL. AT FIRST, I WAS IN SHOCK AND DISBELIEF. I QUESTIONED IF I REALLY WASN’T AT UFC LEVEL.
BUT THEN IN THE FIGHT, YOU REALIZE MY KNEE POPS IN THE FIRST TWENTY SECONDS. IT SEEMED LIKE WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT I TOOK A STEP BACK WITH THAT RIGHT, KIND OF LOST BALANCE. BUT, ACTUALLY, THAT STEP BACK WAS ME PREPARING TO COME BACK ON MY USUAL BULLDOZER MODE. BUT, IN THAT, MY KNEE POPPED. I DIDN’T FEEL THE PUNCH. THE MASTER, AFTERWARD, ASKED ME IF I’D FELT THE PUNCH AND SAID I HADN’T, THAT IT WAS THE KNEE.”
Despite the outcome, Cachoeira has no regrets and even goes as far to say she wants to rematch Shevchenko at some point down the line once she is fully recovered.
“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN VERY HASTY. THIS FIGHT, IT WAS HASTY. NOT A REGRET, BUT HASTY, BECAUSE FIGHTING WHILE INJURED IS HASTY. SO I PUT IT IN MY HEAD: I WON’T STEP ON THAT STAGE UNTIL I’M FEELING 100%. ONLY THEN WILL WE BE ABLE TO MAKE AN ASSESSMENT OF MY FIGHT. THE INTENTION IS TO RETURN NEXT YEAR.
I TOOK THIS FIGHT WITH VALENTINA NOT JUST BECAUSE I WAS FEARLESS AND BECAUSE I DON’T TURN DOWN FIGHTS. I THOUGHT, ‘IF I WANT THE BELT, I’LL HAVE TO GET PAST HER ANYWAY.’ I ALSO THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT WAS VALENTINA AND THAT IT WOULD GET ME KNOWN, THAT I HAD NOTHING TO LOSE. OF COURSE, DIDN’T EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN THAT WAY, BUT IT DID AND THAT’S HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO. I DIDN’T HESITATE, FOR A SECOND. I KNEW MANY PEOPLE DIDN’T BELIEVE ME. SOMETIMES EVEN PEOPLE THAT SAID I’D WIN, I FELT THAT, DEEP DOWN, THEY WERE SCARED FOR ME. BUT WHEN COACH [GILLIARD PARANA] TOLD VALENTINA WOULD BE THE OPPONENT, I SAID IT RIGHT AWAY, I DIDN’T THINK TWICE, ‘I WANT THIS FIGHT.’ HE ASKED IF I WAS SURE. I SET HE COULD SCHEDULE IT. ‘NO ONE WANTS TO FIGHT HER? I DO.’
I’M SURE I’LL BE BACK AND I’LL EVEN ASK FOR THE REMATCH. I WANT TO DO A FEW FIGHTS FIRST. BEFORE THE REMATCH, I WANT TO RETURN AND DO MY REAL UFC DEBUT. MY COMEBACK WILL BE MY ACTUALDEBUT,BECAUSE I WILL BE AT 100% AND ABLE TO SHOW WHAT I’M CAPABLE OF.”
How likely a Shevchenko-Cachoeira rematch will ever be remains to be seen. But regardless, the Brazilian still has plenty to prove and grow from as that was her only loss in nine fights.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 3/21/2018.