Jessica Andrade talks starting family, receiving BJJ black belt

Despite losing her belt to Weili Zhang, the former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade reached the mountaintop of her respective weight division, winning gold back in Rio de Janeiro.

“It was just joy to see Brazil as a whole screaming and watching, to see my family over there and everyone very happy,” Andrade said.

While she awaits for her next opponent, Andrade begins a new chapter in life as her wife Fernanda Gomes intends to have an insemination next year and welcome a baby into their family in 2021, Andrade told WMMA Rankings.

“I’m very happy and starting a family is something that I’ve always wanted. It became a reality after Fernanda appeared in my life,” Andrade said. “This is something that we’ve been planning for a while, and we talked a lot about it after I won the strawweight championship belt.”

The married couple met six years ago in their home-city of Umuarama, though the relationship didn’t work out initially and they didn’t start talking again until 2016, Andrade added.

A year later, she proposed during her post-fight interview to Gomes center-stage of UFC 211, after her loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

“Fernanda always said that she wanted to have a child, that she wanted to have a child. I felt the weight of starting a family from the beginning, since my mother-in-law and my father-in-law came to live with us to help us,” Andrade said.

“They always spoke of family, to be a family and to have a family. I think it was the works of fate, we got together and everything worked out.”

Andrade’s mother-in-law Cida always gave them moral support and was happy about them having a baby. Cida has always wanted to have a big family, as she already has two grandchildren.

The strawweight’s mother initially had a different sentiment towards her daughter and Fernanda having a child.

“My mother at first thought it was kind of weird,” Andrade said. “She asked, ‘how are you going to have a child? Aren’t you two women?’ I said, ‘oh mother there are several ways to have a child.'”

“We can have one through insemination, we can adopt or talk to the doctor and see what other options we have. My mother was a little weird at first but afterwards she became super supportive, so I think our family always worked out very well.”

Andrade also experienced a defining moment with her extended family at Paraná Vale Tudo. In September, the UFC strawweight won first place in the open class at the 2019 Brazilian No-gi Jiu-jitsu Championships as a brown belt.

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The next day during training, PRVT’s founder/head coach Gilliard Paraná rewarded Andrade with her black belt, a journey that began nine years ago when she first walked into his dojo as a white belt.

“Earning my black belt was a very special day and it will be recorded forever in my life,” Andrade said. “It was a conquest in my life, something that no one can take from me and it came right after the fight with Zhang.”

As Paraná presented the black belt to Andrade, he embraced her and tears of joy poured out. They both remembered the moments they spent together, and she recalled moments when she wanted to give up, but her head coach gave her strength.

“I considered him as a father and he always treated me like a daughter. He always gave me a fuss, always gave me affection, gave me love,” Andrade said. “All these memories with him passed through my mind.”

“Today, he and I are like a video game and the control. He squeezes it and I do exactly everything he asks.”

Cristhian Plasencia

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