Tracy Cortez Finally Gets her Big Chance

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Filling in at short notice, Tracy Cortez will finally get her big chance to make a name for herself and break into the flyweight top five. Sitting pretty at 11-1 having only lost her debut, Cortez is 5-0 in the UFC with all of her fights going the distance. She got the opportunity through Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2019 but as of yet, has failed to truly get over with fans due to her lack of finishing ability. She’ll be hard pressed to get a finish this weekend as she takes on former two time champion, Rose Namajunas, who has only been finished twice in her career.

Wrestling for Control

During her first four UFC outings, Cortez relied on her wrestling ability to get her opponents down, control them and win the fight arguably based on control time rather than damage. She averages 2.33 takedowns per 15 minutes, with an accuracy of 46%.

She’s landed 10 takedowns across her UFC career thus far, preferring to be more risk-averse rather than looking to light her opponents up on the feet. With that being said, last time out against Jasmine Jasudavicius, she decided to stand with the Canadian and became a defensive wrestler, rather than an offensive wrestler when she avoided eight of ten takedowns. This performance proved that she can strike, which will be vital against Namajunas.

For Cortez, she’s stepping in on short notice. She was scheduled to face Miranda Maverick on July 20th, however, will push her training camp forward by a week and extend her cardio to five rounds, rather than the three she was scheduled for.


The Dana White’s Contender Series graduate will certainly have to alter her game plan from the one she was planning to implement against Maverick. Her previous opponent can strike but looks to get takedowns from the clinch or bodylock situations. She’s very wrestling-heavy and a much stronger opponent physically than the one she will ultimately face in Denver.

Cortez needs to close the distance quickly on Namajunas. The former champion is strong when she can strike at distance, when she isn’t pressured and when she can pick her shots. Against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in their rematch, she was able to be the quicker striker in there and outpoint her Polish opponent due to her efficiency of striking at range. If Cortez pushes the action, which of course comes with a risk due to her taking it on short notice, she will certainly have much better success.

If she can ground Namajunas, she also has to be careful as the former champion is certainly more than capable on the ground. She has three submissions in the UFC and can threaten submissions from all positions on the ground.

In the instant classic (we kid) against Carla Esparza, Namajunas was hesitant to open up in the striking realm due to the threat of the takedown, which threw her off her game and lead to one of the worst championship performances in history. Cortez needs to threaten the takedown early, look to throw Namajunas off her game and force her to think in the octagon, rather than flow.

Ultimately, it’s going to be tough for Cortez. She’s against a very experienced foe in Denver, however, Namajunas hasn’t looked good since moving up to flyweight, going 1-1. If Cortez can lock in and get the win here, there’s a chance that she could crack the top five of the division.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.