Want to know how life has changed for Loopy Godinez (7-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in the last year? She now has her own Wikipedia page.
"I didn't want any of that, but it happened," she laughs, and while it is a sign that the Mexican strawweight has arrived, she isn't letting any of that get to her head as she begins her second year as a member of the UFC roster on Saturday, when she takes on Ariane Carnelossi (14-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 274.
But after fighting four times in an eye-opening rookie year, her first bout in front of a packed arena this weekend might be a shocker once she hears the roar of the crowd for everyone's favorite new fighter.
How did she get here? Well, it started with a short-notice call to face Jessica Penne last April, when Godinez came out of nowhere to nearly upset the former world title challenger before losing a controversial split decision.
Godinez was back in October, picking up a "Performance of the Night" bonus for her submission of Silvana Gomez Juarez, and a week later (no typo), she stepped up to flyweight to go three rounds with Luana Carolina. And while the decision loss was disappointing, Godinez returned to the win column in November, closing out the year with a victory over Loma Lookboonmee. Add in her willingness to jump to the bantamweight division to face Sarah Alpar in May before visa issues intervened, and it's clear why some were calling the 28-year-old the Donald Cerrone of women's MMA.
So it's a little surprising that we're only getting our first dose of Loopy now in May. But there hasn't been any slacking off from the 115-pound prospect.
"I've been training," she said. "No time for vacation."
And now that she's here to start her 2022 campaign, Godinez isn't interested in having a leisurely stroll through the division. She wants all the smoke …. yesterday.
"Oh yeah, for sure," she said. "Honestly, I see the girls and I watch the fights and I'm like, oh, I can take them all right now. It's just a matter of time for me to show the world."
That's confidence, and you can hear it in her voice that she believes it. So where does that come from? That's simple.
"It just comes from hard work," she said. "I work really hard and I know I'm doing things right. It's no secret – it's just confidence from the hard work. I'm getting better each day. Every time I'm looking better, and I can feel it and I can see it. I go to other gyms to train, and people get tired on me or they cannot keep up with me, and it shows me that I'm doing things right and it's just a matter of time for me to get that belt. I'll take the steps that I have to take and the road that I have to take and get to the belt."
Does that mean another busy year like 2021? Godinez has her plans.
"Dominating everyone and moving up," she said. "It's just me getting better and being the best version of myself. That's my goal. I'm focusing on myself and being better."
I thought she was going to say she wanted to fight 10 times by the end of the year.
"I mean, I hope so," she laughs. "I'm ready."
This story first published at UFC.com.