Victoria Dudakova: Future UFC Champion?

Victoria Dudakova: Future UFC Champion?

When Victoria Dudakova appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2022, she walked up to the UFC CEO and said, “I’m going to be a world champion.”

On Saturday, the 25-year-old Russian Strawweight has the opportunity to take another step towards her goal when she fights Melissa Gatto in Atlantic City for her third fight in the UFC.

So, who is Victoria Dudakova and how did she get to where she is now?


Victoria was born in Volgograd, Russia on 26 January 1999.

As a child, she focused on swimming, which she started competing in at the age of seven. She won multiple national titles, represented the national team and was awarded the Master of Sports of Russia, which is given by the Russian Government to outstanding athletes.

Inspired by Ronda Rousey, Victoria decided she wanted to try MMA. Her father used to be a kickboxer and she showed a natural flair for combat sports.

By the time she was 18, she had become the Russian kickboxing champion for her age group. She later became the Russian champion for her age group in hand-to-hand fighting.


Dudakova found it difficult to get started with MMA, as she couldn’t find a coach who was willing to train girls.

This changed when she found Gasanali Gasanaliev, who became her MMA coach in 2018. Under him, she had a very successful amateur career. She was a finalist in the Russian MMA Championship, became IMMAF European champion and got a bronze medal in the IMMAF World Championships.

Victoria credits the big amateur tournaments with providing invaluable experience for her development. Having to maintain weight and fight a different high-level opponent every day for several days is really tough.

Turning Professional

Aged 21, Victoria Dudakova turned professional in 2020. Fighting in various Russian promotions, she built up a record of 5-0-0. All five of her wins had come by stoppage (three by rear naked choke, one armbar and one doctor’s stoppage).

This was enough to earn her a spot on Dana White’s Contender Series 2022. Her opponent was Maria Silva and Dudakova was a heavy underdog for this fight. Despite carrying a knee injury, Victoria dominated the fight and won by unanimous decision.

Dana White was very impressed with Dudakova’s toughness and said she had everything you need to be a world champion. He awarded her a UFC contract.


Due to Victoria’s knee injury, it would be another 11 months before she made her UFC debut on UFC Vegas 77 at the Apex on 15 July 2023. She fought Istela Nunes and won by stoppage after only 34 seconds of the first round. A single-leg takedown by Dudakova resulted in Nunes landing awkardly and dislocating her elbow.

Victoria’s second UFC fight was in UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on 21 October 2023. In the only women’s fight on the card, she came up against the veteran Jinh Yu Frey.

Dudakova went into this fight with a bad staph infection, although she kept this from UFC doctors. She struggled in the lead-up to the fight and missed weight by 0.6 lbs.

Despite her difficulties, she still managed to win the fight by unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring it 29-28 to Dudakova.

Where Is Victoria Dudakova Now?

Victoria Dudakova now has a professional MMA record of 8-0-0 with four wins by submission, two by KO/TKO and two by decision.

She is fighting the 28-year-old Brazilian Melissa Gatto at the UFC Fight Night on 30 March 2024 in Atlantic City. Gatto has a record of 8-2-2, although she has lost her last two fights.

As she was for her fight on Dana White’s Contender Series, Dudakova will go into this fight as the underdog. This is a big fight for her. If she is able to extend her professional win streak to nine by winning here, she will take a big step towards her ultimate goal of becoming UFC champion.

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