Claudia Gadelha may have decided to retire from mixed martial arts due to concussion-related symptoms, but she won’t be leaving the UFC entirely.
The one-time UFC strawweight title contender has accepted a job in the UFC with a “gigantic” list of obligations, she told MMA Fighting, but one she’s mainly focused on is the development of young athletes in her native Brazil. Speaking on this week’s episode of Trocação Franca, Gadelha explained that her main goal now is to help her countrymen.
“I’ll work with several talents,” Gadelha said. “But I want to work hard, the same way I worked as an athlete, to help [fighters] in Brazil develop and understand things in the sport that aren’t very clear — and how to use the UFC to their advantage, and not the other way around.
“Many people think they are against us, that there’s an inner circle there, when the reality is the promotion wants you to develop. I’ll focus on this mission of showing people that, helping people, being at events and being always around to help with everything they need.”
One of her goals for the future, Gadelha said, is to convince the UFC to open a Performance Institute in Brazil much like the one the promotion built in 2019 in Shanghai, China. The former fighter said she would “be the ambassador for the UFC Performance Institute” and “show Brazilians how to use the Institute and its professionals.”
“I have big goals in the company. ‘Minotauro’ [Nogueira] and I will achieve a lot at UFC Brazil,” Gadelha said. “The first thing Dana [White] asked me when we had this meeting was, ‘Do you think we should open a PI in Brazil?’ I said yes, absolutely. With the level of talent and willpower we have in Brazil, if we develop the technique and the psychology, I’m sure it will change a lot the way Brazilian fighters are in the UFC.
“To refine what’s already great, right? To give them physical therapy, sports medicine, supplements and psychology for athletes that have none of that, or have to spend their entire purse on that to develop. If we give all that to an athlete that already has willpower and drive and is there fighting to be one of the best, and change not only his life but his family’s life, I’m sure we’ll have great results. That’s my goal at UFC Brazil. I want to change that.”
Another mission with her new UFC role, Gadelha said, is to work out a health and fitness program for the UFC staff and “help them get in shape, train jiu-jitsu, and do some boxing, so people that work in the UFC can understand more about the sport.”
Even if 52-year-old UFC president Dana White is doing just fine.
“Dana is in shape,” Gadelha said with a laugh. “If you’re a conditioning coach, you have to be in shape so your client is in shape too. If you’re a fight coach, you must know how to fight. If you’re a sports doctor, you have to live the lifestyle you teach your patient. And Dana lives that, right? Dana is in the fight business and he’s strong in his 50s, and I think the UFC crew has to do the same thing. To develop, train, understand about the sport, because that helps their relationship with athletes.”
On that note, if White ever decides to take up Chatri Sityodtong’s challenge for a fight, Gadelha believes the UFC boss could beat the founder of ONE Championship.
“I’d definitely be in the boss’ corner, and he has good boxing, right?” Gadelha said. “Dana trained boxing in the past and he’s in shape. I’d be in his corner and he’d definitely win this fight.”