UFC Flyweight Manon Fiorot had a sensational 2021.
In just 270 days, the French prospect stopped Victoria Leonardo on her promotional debut at UFC Fight Island 8, finished Tabatha Ricci at UFC Vegas 28, and defeated Mayra Bueno Silva at UFC Vegas 40.
Fiorot’s performances were dominant, aggressive, and decorated with striking finesse. Alongside her 3-0 promotional record, “The Beast” asserted herself as a Top 15 ranked Flyweight.
With surging momentum, the 32-year-old was scheduled to face a Top 10 ranked Flyweight opponent in Jessica Eye, March 5th 2022, at UFC 272. However, Eye would later withdraw from the bout, citing injury.
From disappointment arose a greater opportunity; a matchup with #4 ranked Flyweight Jennifer Maia, scheduled just 3-weeks later than the cancelled bout with Eye.
Courtesy of Head Coach Aldric Cassata, I had the opportunity to ask Manon some questions ahead of her fight with Maia at UFC Columbus.
Manon, congratulations on a sensational 2021. Which of your three UFC performances are you most proud of?
“The third, because I got Covid 2 weeks [before], and I [was] very tired during the fight; I fight against myself to win this fight”.
Whilst it is disappointing that Jessica Eye had to withdraw from your scheduled bout, you have a big opportunity with a higher ranked opponent in Jennifer Maia. How are you feeling about the change in opponent, and this big opportunity?
“[For Eye to] pull out at one week is terrible because I have a 3 month training camp and I’m more than ready. But 3 weeks to wait was acceptable and I’m really happy [for] the next challenge. I think they’re [a] similar style, and we just work on some details for this new fight”.
It’s been 10 years since Jennifer Maia last lost professionally via stoppage, and she has yet to lose via stoppage for the UFC. Is getting the stoppage against Maia a particular motivation for this fight?
“I know she is tough, durable, and she won the 2nd round against Valentina, but I want to finish this fight”.
You will be fighting at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio; the UFC’s first event in Columbus for 13 years. How excited are you to finally fight in front of a large audience with a big atmosphere for the UFC?
“Yes I’m waiting for that for a long time; the last time I fight with supporters was my title fight in South Africa”.
In 2005, France introduced a ban on MMA broadcasts that would last 15 years, and the sport was outlawed completely between 2016 and 2020. Because of this past repression of the sport in France, is there an added sense of pride that you are delivering such entertaining fights on the biggest stage in MMA?
“Yes I’m proud to represent my team and my country, and really want to fight in Paris”.
Last year, your goal was to finish the year inside the Top 15 Flyweight rankings, and you succeeded. What’s your goal for 2022?
“This year I want to finish top contender of flyweight division”.
There is certainly a lot of excitement around you for the future. Anything you would like to say to your UK fans?
“I hope they enjoy my fight and I really want to fight in UK one day. Thank you so much for [the] support”.