LOS ANGELES – Claudia Gadelha believes she levels up when she faces top competition.

And that’s exactly what she sees in her Dec. 7 matchup vs. Cynthia Calvillo at UFC on ESPN 7.

“I’m excited for that fight because I feel like I fight better when I have good competition and Cynthia is a good competitor,” Gadelha said during Tuesday’s Dominance MMA media day. “She fights for her life, so do I, and she likes do bang, and I do. I think we have similar styles and I think it’s a good fight for me.”

Gadelha (17-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has struggled to find consistency in the UFC. She’s fought the biggest names in the division, and even challenged for the strawweight title, but fell short to rival Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Having trained with Brazil’s Nova Uniao for 10 years, Gadelha decided to make a change around three years ago. After bouncing around a few gyms, she landed in New Jersey, training under the tutelage of coach Mark Henry, and with the likes of former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

She believed she needed to make a change in her approach to the game.

“I had to change my mentality of like the Brazilian brawler that just goes to the gym and beat each other up to an MMA competitor that understands the strategy, and the technique,” Gadelha said. “So I feel like these last three years, I’ve been going through all of that, and now being with Mark, and Ricardo (Almeida) in New Jersey and spending time with all these amazing fighters I’ve been training with lately, it’s been bringing me back.”

In her last outing in July, she defeated Randa Markos, and will look to string back to back wins for the first time since 2017.

“I’m more motivated now, I feel like I lost that motivation because I was all over the place and I didn’t know what to do,” Gadelha said. “I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. I still have that feeling I wanted to win, but I didn’t have that motivation.”

For more from Gadelha, click on the video linked above.

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