Lupita Godinez knew she would be fighting for the UFC very soon.
After the Aguascalientes, Mexico, native, who now calls British Columbia home, beat Vanessa Demopoulos for the LFA strawweight belt, she thought she was a shoo-in for the Contender Series this summer.
However, just two weeks ago Godinez (5-0) got the call from her manager that she was being signed by the UFC for a short notice fight at UFC on ESPN 22 against Jessica Penne (12-5), who fought for UFC gold in her career.
“It was like, ‘oh finally.’ It has been a lot of work and a lot of things to get done in such a short period of time. Everything is happening, step-by-step, so I’m really happy,” Godinez said to MMA Empire.
“Then I’m fighting someone like Jessica Penne as it will be an honour to step into the cage with her. I’m looking forward to it.”
When she got the news she would be fighting on April 17, Godinez packed her bags and headed to Colorado to train for the two weeks she had to prepare.
The 27-year-old had to go to the United States to get medicals and her visa done in time. However, Godinez makes it clear this is not a short notice fight for her as she has been training at Titan MMA ever since her last fight back in October.
“I went to Colorado (for the last two weeks of camp). I had to come to the States for my visa, and I love it here in training,” Godinez said.
“The final two weeks of training were here and I’m very thankful, but I still was working back at home as always before that.”
Against Penne, Godinez admits it is hard to prepare for her. The 38-year-old hasn’t fought since 2017 due to a USADA suspension and is on a three-fight losing streak.
Although Penne is on a losing skid, Godinez hopes this is the best version of Penne, as the Mexican says she only wants to compete against the best.
“I’m just focusing on me and being ready for whatever. That’s it,” Godinez said.
“I hope it is the best Jessica Penne on Saturday. She’s one of the best and those are the people I want to fight. Anything can happen in the fight. She hasn’t fought in so long, so it is hard to know if she will strike or grapple.”
If Godinez gets the win, she knows it would be the biggest of her career and hopes a ranked opponent would be next. The goal is to also make a quick turnaround if everything goes her way.
“A win here will get me in the mix. Hopefully, a win gets me someone near the ranks as Penne is known. But, one step at a time, and we will see what happens after the fight and after I win,” Godinez concluded.