Norma Dumont didn’t get the opponent she wanted on Saturday night, but she was grateful to be able to have a fight nonetheless.
The Brazilian relied on her jab, clinch work and solid takedown defense to earn a five-round verdict over Aspen Ladd in the UFC Fight Night 195 headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Ladd was a short notice replacement for Holly Holm, who withdrew from the main event after suffering a knee injury.
“I knew (Ladd) was going to give me a fun fight,” Dumont said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “She saved me because we were on the verge of not having one. She is a tough fighter, she is a fun fighter and I’m very glad we were able to get this accomplished.”
The fight was generally a lackluster affair, in large part because Ladd offered little in the way of meaningful offense for the majority of the five rounds. Ladd, who normally competes at bantamweight, agreed to take the fight two weeks after a failed weight cut resulted in the cancellation of her clash with Macy Chiasson. Still, Dumont believes she deserves more credit than she received for limiting Ladd’s efforts.
“Aspen did exactly what she does in her other fights, except this time she actually faced a fighter that can hit her, can stop her from doing it. She’s not a fool,” Dumont said. “She knew if she came towards me I was going to knock her out.”
With reigning featherweight champion Amanda Nunes currently scheduled for a 135-pound title defense against Julianna Pena at the end of the year, the 145-pound weight class is in something of a holding pattern. While Nunes attends to other matters, Dumont suggested a rebooking of the Holm fight — only this time with higher stakes.
“I don’t want the division to get stagnant. I want us to have fights, so I’m totally willing to have that fight. I understand Amanda is going to do a title defense and then later on a possible fight with Valentina [Shevchenko], so we’d only be able to meet mid-year next year. I definitely don’t want to be not fighting that long. I think a fight, even for interim belt with Holly, could bring some attention to the division and have other athletes come into the division with the winner of this fight to go on and face Amanda.”
What’s clear is that with three consecutive wins, Dumont has suddenly emerged as a top contender in a perpetually shallow division.Competing at the top of a card is something Dumont admits she could become accustomed to doing.
“It’s a division where we don’t know who we’re fighting I’m going to leave it to the hands of UFC,” Dumont said. “I’ve never backed down from a fight. I’m going to continue to prepare at the gym and I hope it is a big name and I hope it is a main event, as well, because I thought this was pretty cool.”