Denise Gomes: Lessons from Adversity

Denise Gomes has built her career around resilience, transforming setbacks into stepping stones to success. Her journey began with her first professional match at the age of 17, when she went up against Gisele Moreira, a much more experienced opponent who was twice her age. Despite losing the match, Gomes didn’t back down. She exhibited the same resolve during her Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut last year where she suffered a decision loss to Konklak “Loma Lookboonmee” Suphisara. Still, she turned the frustration of defeat into motivation for improvement, underscoring her story of perseverance.

As Gomes prepares for her upcoming bout with former Invicta Fighting Championships’ strawweight queen, Angela Hill, she reflects on her past experiences with a sense of gratitude rather than regret. Now 23, Gomes’s career trajectory displays a clear pattern of taking losses in stride and using them to fuel her triumphant comebacks. She views each setback as a learning opportunity, a necessary part of her journey. Gomes shared, “My personal story is one of overcoming the odds as well as learning. Things don’t always play out as we wish. Now, looking back, I see that it was necessary.”

She adds that her debut loss in mixed martial arts (MMA) drove her to train harder and improve her skills. In the onset of her career, she focused mostly on jiu-jitsu and muay thai, before delving deep into MMA. All her matches before joining the UFC have been crucial to shaping her into the fighter she is today. Regardless of her debut loss in the UFC, Gomes remains ambitious and optimistic about her potential in the sport. Her subsequent victories, including a performance bonus win over Yazmin Jauregui, invigorate her determination further. “My setbacks didn’t diminish me. Just the opposite. It’s all fuel to propel me to where I’m going. My last two fights were TKO wins…I can go a lot further. In my last performance, I could see that I belong in this game,” Gomes stated.

Going forward, Gomes sees similarities in Angela Hill to both the women she lost to – Moreira and Suphisara. Hill’s extensive experience and muay thai-influenced style remind Gomes of her past opponents. While respectful of Hill’s skills, Gomes is confident about her progression and remains focused on showcasing her best in the upcoming match. Her preparation for the bout took place in her home base, Parana Vale Tudo in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro, alongside some of Brazil’s most esteemed female talents. “I’m confident we’re heading to another victory,” Gomes affirmed, sharing her message for her fans, “My plan is to get better with each fight… I want the fans to know that I’ll keep getting better, and that I’ll be sure to make it worth their time.”

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