Coming into UFC Vegas 40, Norma Dumont has the opportunity of a lifetime. After the main event with Miesha Tate was cancelled due to an injury on Tate’s part, Dumont and then-opponent Holly Holm was promoted to main event. Then, Holm pulled out and in steps Aspen Ladd. The main event status, however, did not change. Now Dumont gets an opportunity for the biggest win of her career in a main event slot.
A quick dive into Dumont’s history and you’ll see she is a Sanda practitioner. With her Brazilian heritage, it is impossible to escape the influence Jiu Jitsu had on her and she was involved early on. But it’s Sanda that really took hold on Norma Dumont and got her involved in combat sports full time.
“When I first got into fight, I was 13 or 14 and that was in Jiu Jitsu. I had to stop after a year. I took a hiatus because I had to work. Then at 19 I came back and that’s when I discovered Sanda. I was at a gym I trained Jiu Jitsu at. When I saw Sanda it really caught my eye. There was a lot of striking involved, a lot of takedowns as well. So having trained Jiu Jitsu I thought that it was something that I thought I would be interested in. When I started training Sanda, I started training Jiu Jitsu again. Since then I never looked back.”
But growing up, fighting was always a part of Dumont’s life and was how her and her sister would entertain themselves.
“[Fighting] has been something I always enjoyed. I remember when I was younger with my sisters, we would use a cushion as a punching bag and we would be creative in finding ways to grapple or to find an outlet for our combative nature.”
Unlike Xiaonan Yan who is from China where the sport is introduced more naturally, Dumont found Sanda by luck almost. Or perhaps it was destiny. Either way, her path to Sanda and back to martial arts as a whole was through the friend of a friend.
“When I got back into things at 19 I did a free trial Muay Thai class. At that Muay Thai class and I was speaking to a friend where we had a mutual friend who was into Kung Fu. It was this friend that I was recommended Sanda. I had never heard about it but I liked boxing. But I’m more than willing to try new things. So I went and where I’m from in Brazil, we have five or six Sanda academies now. But then there were four, max. When I got there and I saw these two girls facing off and they were striking and doing takedowns at the same time. I said, ‘Jesus, this is pretty all action. This is something I can really get into. I can vibe with this.’ I saw that it could offer me something a lot. I like to think of it as destiny, almost.”
Norma Dumont and UFC Vegas 40
Going into UFC Vegas 40, Dumont is dealing with a lot of change. Going from a three round to a five round fight is challenging for many. But for Norma Dumont, she’s been preparing for it for a while now. After hearing Tate was out and knowing the headline-ability (if that’s a word) that was Holly Holm, she and her team anticipated the move up to a five round event.
“I have to say, the change to the main event despite any supposed last minute nature of it is really good for me. It’s excellent for me. When the Tate fight fell through and with Holly, we knew that it was a good probability that it got bumped up to the main event. As regards to the five round factor as opposed to the original 3 rounds, that’s no issue for me. I’ve been in Las Vegas for five months and over the course of those five months I’ve been training five rounds and doing the full 25 minutes straight. That’s nothing new to me. Perhaps an interesting aspect there would be the real fight in the octagon, you have to study the possibilities there. You can’t come out of the traps so fast, maybe be a little more controlled, but that’s something that I’m prepared for too.”
With a win over Holm, I asked if Dumont is confident in a shot at the 145 title (this was before the opponent change). Dumont says that she’s honored to be thought of being in a title fight. She has the upmost respect for Amanda Nunes and says she’s in no rush and if the UFC has different plans, she’s along for the ride.
“A title fight would be an absolute honor. An honor in the sense of the belt on the line and an honor in the sense of it being against Amanda who is an absolute icon. Her and Valentina are the greatest representatives we have in the UFC for the women. Now, in terms of me going straight into a title fight I guess it would be how convincing my victory would be. If I can win in style, then the UFC would probably be looking at putting me straight into a title fight. But if the UFC thinks that I need a few more wins then I dispute a belt, then I’m happy with that. All I want to do is win and get back to activity again. I want to fight again. I don’t know their plans but I’m going to be back in action as soon as possible.”
In addition to the UFC’s plans, Dumont knows that she has to work around Nunes’ plans. Currently, Nunes is slated to defend her title against Juliana Pena at UFC 269 in December. Dumont just wants to do what she loves: fight.
“We know with Amanda’s situation, she defends her belt at 135 against Juliana Pena in December and then we don’t know where she will want to go. It just doesn’t depend on me. The UFC will have to go sit down with her too. There’s a lot of things to be considered, but whatever happens I want to stay as active as possible.”
Predicting Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier
With UFC 269 coming upon us rapidly, and Dumont being from Brazil and me living an hour from Lafayette, home of Dustin Poirier, I had to get a laugh in putting Dumont on the spot to pick jesting that I’d be upset if she didn’t pick Dustin. But, Dumont had nothing but good to say about both Poirier and do Bronx. To my dismay, albeit expected, Dumont confirmed that she will be pulling for her fellow countryman in Charles Oliveira.
“Considering that you live just an hour away from Dustin, I’ll take great care not to upset you,” Dumont said with a laugh. “Funnily enough, even though I’m Brazilian, I’ve met Dustin. He’s a really cool guy, he was very nice to me. But I’ve never met Charles. I’ve spoken with him on Instagram and I know a lot about him, but I’ve never met him. And of course, knowing his story and him being from Brazil, I’ll be rooting for him. He’s got a great story in the UFC, but also outside the UFC. He’s got a great story where he’s come from, what he’s done, what he is, you have to admire that. The favela he’s from is a humble background. How much he cares about his people and how much he gives to his people.”
Even only at 6-1, Norma Dumont has found herself in a great spot going into UFC Vegas 40. She will take on Aspen Ladd in the main event and after that, hopes to remain active again. Win or lose, don’t count Dumont out going forward. With her hard work, she always has the opportunity to bounce back in a big way.