Denise Gomes confident ahead of UFC Vegas 60 debut with past Muay Thai win over Marina Rodriguez


Denise Gomes makes her UFC debut just 25 days after a win over Rayanne Amanda at Dana White‘s Contender Series. Her confidence was boosted by her win against top-ranked UFC strawweight Marina Rodriguez, according to Muay Thai rules.

The 22-year-old meets Loma Lookboonmee at Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 60 and feels ready for the challenge after training with “the best in the world” like Jessica Andrade. With a record of 6-1 in MMA, Gomes recalls defeating Rodriguez — currently the No. 5 strawweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — via decision in a Muay Thai bout in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, right before the talented striker joined the UFC in 2018.

“I won, I cut her, and scored many points,” Gomes said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocacao Franca. It wasn’t knockout but it was a good fight. It was a great fight. She has great Muay Thai, people compliment that a lot. I felt less experienced at the time and that’s why I trust my Muay Thai and what I do now. Her skills are amazing and I felt able to do a little better than her . I know I can get there .

“[Lookboonmee] can also be a Muay Thailand fighter. Although she has other [weapons],, I do not underestimate her. She is very Muay Thai-oriented. Although I have never fought Thai girls before, I have had the pleasure of fighting great women like Marina Rodriguez. My Muay Thai, my team and me believe in it. But I am also a believer in my jiu jitsu. If I feel threatened at any moment or confident to work with my jiu-jitsu, I know I can do well on the ground.”

Gomes was a 2017, debut fighter, but she lost in the second round. She returned to the sport in 2021, kicking off a five-fight winning streak that led to a shot at the Contender Series, and said that staying away from the game for almost four years was crucial to her success.

“I fought my first MMA fight, without ever training in MMA,” she stated. “I was great on the ground, great on the feet, and my Muay Thai coaches thought I could do it. I thought too, to be honest with you [laughs], but the girl played by the rules and I didn’t understand anything. I had no idea what MMA really was. I don’t think I lost badly because I fought well, but when I lost I said to myself, ‘I wanna do this, but I want to train for it and know what I need to know before I get there.'”