UFC 289 winner Diana Belbita sick of grappling-heavy opponents: ‘Stop hugging and let’s fight’

UFC 289 winner Diana Belbita sick of grappling-heavy opponents: ‘Stop hugging and let’s fight’

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Just one time, Diana Belbita wants to face an opponent who will strike with her.

Initially, Belbita (15-7 MMA, 2-3 UFC) thought her opponent at Saturday’s UFC 289, Maria Oliveira (13-7 MMA, 1-3 UFC), was a stand-and-bang sort of foe. However, as the fight played out, that was disproved.

“Everybody tries to hug me. I don’t know why,” Belbita told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a post-fight news conference. “But come on, man. Everybody wants to hug me. Like, what’s that? I’m too scary? Are my hands scary? What’s the problem? Do they love me too much?

“Every fight, my opponent tries to hug me. Stop hugging and let’s fight. Let’s throw punches in this fight. We’re in a fistfight. We’re not in a hugging fight. Guess what? I’m not just a striker. I started working more and more on my grappling, so next time I may shoot or I may hug, too.”

As history has continued to repeat itself each time she steps in the cage, Belbita has made grappling a main focus, especially as she comes from a kickboxing background. Belbita hinted she thinks her skills might be nearing the point where she can use grappling offensively rather than defensively.

“I really expected this girl to stay in the middle of the cage and throw punches,” Belbita said. “And what she did? She took me down and tried to hug me. No, I don’t care. I think everybody will try to hug me because I have long hands, and I have power in my hands.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 289.

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