Dayana Silva demands respect as she makes her first walk to the cage during Friday night’s massive promotion in Uncasville, Connecticut, battling former Bellator champion Julia Budd at Bellator 257 on April 16.
Silva, who fights from the Nova Uniao Gym in Rio de Janeiro, makes her promotion debut against the strongest featherweight in the preliminary section of the map. Surrounded by proven talent at Nova Uniao and previous UFC boxer Ketlen Vieira, Silva is celebrating a “huge opportunity” at Bellator.
“I hope she doesn’t underestimate me,” Silva said of Budd, who lost only to MMA legends Chris Cyborg, Amanda Nunez and Rhonda Rousey in his stellar career. “This is not her business, she seems to be a very determined athlete, and she does not need it. She is very experienced, but I think I will beat her with my strategy and raise my hands at the end. “
Silva, a natural bantamweight, changed her diet when she switched to featherweight as Bellator currently does not have a 135-pound division.
“I will be happy to be here and I know it will be a tough fight with a strong athlete,” she said. “I will be fighting the # 1 fighter who is ranked first right below Chris Cyborg, so I know this is a big fight.”
Silva will move to the big leagues in 2021 after missing out on several opportunities in the past.
Back in 2017, the native of Rio de Janeiro signed a contract with Dana WhiteContender series bantamweight title but lost by split decision to Giselle Moreira. A year later, Silva won the 135-pound Shooto Brasil belt and joined Road to PFL The lightweight grand prix, announced one month at Shooto Brasil in 2020, this time losing in the semifinals by another split decision to the winner of the tournament – future rival of Kayla Harrison – Mariana Morais.
“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” Silva said. “I have had the opportunity to participate in major promotions in the past, but have never had the opportunity to compete for international promotions. I am really happy because this is what I have been training my whole life to get into a big promotion and stay there. “
Signing three fights with Bellator and facing the former titleholder in her debut is an opportunity to change Silva’s life, and it’s a chance to finally get one step closer to making a cage fight her only job. Silva quit her job as a pathologist in 2015, but she still has to do private workouts at the gym to make ends meet.
“Despite the fact that I have been fighting for 12 years, I have never had the luxury of living solely for fighting,” said Silva. “I have a family, I have parents and two brothers. They are married and have a job, but I just couldn’t quit my job before. I felt like a duck. Ducks do everything, swim, fly, walk, but they can’t do anything. When I decided to quit my job, I said that I didn’t want to do something without enthusiasm.
“I have been doing this for a long time, and I saw people who started at the same time, and they took risks, but I, unfortunately, could not. I took a chance and held the hands of God. I trained once a day, sometimes after eight hour shifts, and decided it was time. I was 25, now or never [for me]… It was then that I decided to quit smoking, and, thank God, it still works. “