Irene Aldana thinks the time has come.
A UFC women’s bantamweight contender, Aldana (13-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) believes she’s ready to fight in a championship bout and wants to put that to a test. Aldana has been a top contender for several years now, but has yet to get a her chance at a title.
Currently, the women’s bantamweight title will be on the line July 30 at UFC 277 in a rematch between champion Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes. Aldana doesn’t have a preference of who she rather challenges in the future. She just wants her opportunity to fight the winner.
“I’m ready if the opportunity to fight for the belt comes,” Aldana told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “I think I’m capable of taking that fight now. If tomorrow I get offered a fight for the belt, I would accept that fight. I feel ready. I feel I can build a camp for a title fight. Physically and mentally, I’m ready for that.
“I just don’t know what plans the UFC has. I don’t know if they want to put me against someone else before that opportunity. We also need to see what happens with Amanda and Julianna in this rematch. And yeah, we need to see what the plans are for the UFC.”
Aldana last fought in July 2021 when she scored a dominant, first-round TKO win over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 264. She’s currently 3-1 in her past four outings with the lone defeat coming in a unanimous decision against Holly Holm.
Aldana was scheduled to return in April against Aspen Ladd, but an injury forced her out of the bout. She’s almost fully recovered from the injury and back to training.
Aldana feels she’s got a strong case for the next title shot. Her and Ketlen Vieira are the only two contenders who have yet to fight for the belt. And Aldana holds a first-round knockout over the Brazilian.
The Mexican striker hopes to get the call from the UFC to challenge the champion. She’ll wait for the shot, but she’s also not opposed to solidifying her position as a top threat in the division.
“At this point of my career and being in the top five of the division, it’s harder to fight frequently,” Aldana said. “I can’t do what I did in 2019 when I had four consecutive fights while I was climbing the rankings. Now, I have to see what fight could get me closer to the title. I do like to be active. I do like to be working.
“I don’t want to sit around and wait, but if that’s what needs to be done and the UFC asks me to wait, I’ll wait. I’ll also take a fight, no problem, if the UFC wants it. The idea is also to get more experience. I know every time I fight, every time I do a camp, that gets me more prepared for the title. But we’ll see, I think a lot will be determined once we see the rematch (between Peña and Nunes).