Dione Barbosa’s Graduation Day Celebration

Dione Barbosa is no stranger to tough choices. She dove into judo at just 7 and didn’t look back, leaving home in her teens to chase bigger dreams. Her journey took her from the disciplined world of judo to the dynamic arenas of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and, eventually, mixed martial arts. Now, she’s on the brink of something big.

This Saturday, Barbosa steps into the Ultimate Fighting Championship ring. She’s set to face Ernesta Kareckaite in Rio de Janeiro at UFC 301. At 31, Barbosa’s riding a wave of momentum, with three consecutive wins under her belt. Her UFC ticket was punched with a stunning armbar submission victory. And fighting at home? That’s just the cherry on top.

Barbosa’s buzzing with excitement. “To have the fans on my side only adds to my motivation,” she shared. Fighting in Brazil after five years feels like a homecoming. It’s a dream she’s carried with her all the way from the United States, where she moved with one goal in mind: to fight in the UFC. “This is a special moment for me,” she admits.

Kareckaite stands in her way, a formidable opponent with a Hexagone MMA championship to her name. The 25-year-old Lithuanian is on a winning streak, having recently edged out a victory in the Dana White’s Contender Series. But Barbosa isn’t fazed. “She’s a very tough athlete,” Barbosa acknowledges, noting the contrast in their fighting styles. Despite preferring not to overanalyze her opponents, Barbosa and her team have done their homework.

The fight promises to be a clash of styles. Barbosa, eager to test her striking and muay thai skills, knows patience and strategy will be key. “It’s going to be a good fight,” she predicts, hinting at a game plan that includes leveraging her grappling prowess.

Training out of Kings MMA in California, Barbosa has been honing her skills with some of the best in the business. Rafael Cordeiro, Ricardo Dias, and Philipe “Furao” Della Monica have all played a part in preparing her for this moment. For Barbosa, this fight is more than just a debut; it’s the first step of her UFC journey. “I can’t think about the future until my current mission is accomplished,” she says, a mix of joy and determination in her voice. Ready and motivated, Barbosa is poised to make her mark.

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