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Judo would give way to Muay Thai, where Ricci had big successes, including winning the Brazilian Nationals. But her favorite discipline awaited her when she relocated to the United States.

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“Jiu-jitsu is my favorite. Jiu-jitsu opened up a lot for me in the US. I don’t have nobody here from my family, so jiu-jitsu gave me family, gave me friends forever. I’m super-grateful to have jiu-jitsu in my life.”

Armed with the best of all three disciplines, Ricci gravitated to MMA, where, to date, the strawweight has amassed a 6-1 professional record.

Her lone loss came at perhaps the most unfortunate time: her UFC debut. She was a short-notice replacement in a weight class that wasn’t home and ran into the still-unsolved puzzle called Manon Fiorot.

“I would do some crazy jiu-jitsu to her,” she muses when asked in hindsight what she would have done differently. “Something she’s not expecting. But we’re always learning with the loss.”


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