Childhood & Early Life
Bethe Correia was born on June 22, 1983, in the northeastern interior town of Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brazil. The youngest of four children of a banker in Campina Grande, she was stubborn and hot-blooded as a child.
She intended to follow her father to become an accountant herself and earned her degree in accounting from School of Accounting. She later got a job as an accountant, but eventually realized that she was "too hyperactive for office work".
She got married while in school and started to gain weight, which prompted her to start working out to overcome boredom and to lose weight. During this time, Patricio Freire heard her smacking on the punching bag at a gym in Natal, Brazil, and immediately offered her to train at his own gym.
She soon started learning jiu-jitsu, Sanda, and amateur wrestling techniques with the "Pitbull" brothers, Patrício and Patricky Freire, and earned her blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and her purple sash in Kung Fu. While she initially had no intention to fight professionally, she started to enjoy her fights, getting a sense of completeness, and finally decided to compete in mixed martial arts.
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Mixed Martial Arts Career
Bethe Correia started fighting professionally in May 2012, debuting against Daniela Maria da Silva at the First Fight: Revelations show in her native Brazil. She won the fight by unanimous decision, and went on to win 5 more fights within the next 13 months.
Always looking for opportunities to fight world-class fighters, she got a multi-fight deal offer with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in October 2013. Her first fight was on December 7, 2013 at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot in Brisbane, Australia, against MMA veteran Julie Kedzie, who had competed in 28 professional fights against her own six. However, she was able to win the fight via split decision.
She next moved to the US for her next two UFC fights and faced ‘The Four Horsewomen’ member Jessamyn "The Gun" Duke on April 26, 2014 at UFC 172 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was able to land blows continuously, closing the much taller Duke’s reach, and won the fight by unanimous decision.
Her next fight in the US was against another member of ‘The Four Horsewomen’, Shayna Baszler, on August 30, 2014 at UFC 177 in Sacramento, California. She successfully avoided a submission attempt in the first round and, with aggressive striking, won by TKO at 1:56 minutes of round 2.
With a winning streak of 9-0 and three consecutive UFC wins, she was challenged by Sarah Kaufman and Miesha Tate, both former Strikeforce bantamweight champions. However, coming straight out of two wins against two ‘Horsewomen’, she put her eyes on another ‘Horsewoman’, Ronda Rousey, who was the then-UFC bantamweight championship title owner.
Following her aggressive title shot campaigning against Rousey, one of the most feared fighters in the world, UFC officially scheduled the fight on August 1, 2015, at UFC 190 in her native Brazil. Rousey went into the fight with an undefeated 11-0 win streak and a favorable 15-1 odd against Correia, and won the fight in only 34 seconds into the first round by knockout.
Bethe Correia next claimed that while she was interested in fighting against Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye, both had declined. However, Eye denied her claim and offered to fight her in the Spring of 2016.
Her next UFC fight was against Raquel Pennington on April 16, 2016 at UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans in Tampa, Florida. Both women bled each other during a vehement fight spanning three full round, but Correia lost the fight via split decision.
Coming from two straight defeats, she faced Jessica Eye at UFC 203 on September 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Fighting at Eye’s hometown, she edged out her opponent and won the fight via split decision.
On March 11, 2017, she fought against Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum in Fortaleza, Brazil. The fight ended in a majority draw, even though Reneau criticized the decision stating that she was the clear winner in the final two rounds.
She faced former champion Holly Holm at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia, on June 17, 2017 in Singapore. She lost the game via a head-kick knockout one minute into the third round. Her brain scan following the fight didn’t show serious injuries, but she was issued a 6-month medical suspension by the UFC.
Personal Life & Legacy
Bethe Correia married for the first time when she was studying accounting. However, after she started professional fighting, she separated from her husband, who was not very much interested in her new profession.
She later married her longtime boyfriend Edelson Silva, who is a former boxer and one of Anderson Silva’s boxing coaches. He also serves as her coach as well, while her sister Suzana Correia serves as her manager.
Bethe Correia had been labelled “one of the most unlikely UFC title challengers ever” as she had no plans to compete professionally when she first started training. A newly married woman, she started to gain weight back in 2011 and started MMA training in order to lose weight.
In March 2015, she got involved in a street fight with a taxi driver in Rio de Janeiro while travelling with her boyfriend Edelson Silva and her sister Suzana Correia. The fight ended in a police compliant, but she kept receiving death threats on social media with pictures of guns.