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From Amazon to ONE Championship: Here is the story of Dayane Cardoso

LockerRoom Team
10 April 2023

Dayane "Day Monster" Cardoso, a Brazilian powerhouse, has come a long way from her impoverished roots in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

Over a year after making a winning ONE Championship debut against former World Title contender Ayaka Miura, the 26-year-old strawweight will seek to improve to 2-0 in the league when she takes on Chinese superstar Meng Bo on April 21 at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Before becoming a rising star for ONE, Cardoso supported her family financially by working alongside her parents.

“My childhood was spent helping my parents in the fields. I started helping them when I was 11 years old. My family used to cultivate the land and plant bananas, and cassava, and produce tapioca flour. And we would sell according to the harvest of each product. It was from there that we took our family’s livelihood,” she told in a recent interview with ONE Championship.

Cardoso, the youngest of five, resided well inside the Amazon, about five hours by boat from the closest town.

She had grown up naturally understanding what it was to work hard and to live hard. The young Brazilian showed a propensity for sports as a child. In fact, she demonstrated a certain hardness that would be useful to her in her upcoming professional fighting career.

“I was always very shy and quiet. I liked going to school because I knew I would play soccer there. And since I played with the boys, and I was very good, I ended up being respected by them. I wasn’t bullied. The boys knew that if I got angry, they would be beaten (laughs).”

When she was 19 years old, Cardoso relocated to the city of Autazes, where she discovered martial arts and acquired the moniker she uses today.

The Brazilian entered a Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu academy after having grown up wanting to play soccer. The choice would have a profound impact on life.

The Carioca Academy athlete won her maiden Muay Thai match after six months of training by knocking out two women in a single evening.

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One of her teammates gave her the moniker "Day Monster" after her crucial performance and the strawweight's tremendous strength in the gym.

Cardoso's tenacity and toughness were hard-won from his upbringing in the Amazon. Yet it didn't really ease the transition to city life.

The Brazilian moved to Manaus to pursue her dreams of being a world-class mixed martial artist after realising she possessed these abilities.

The aspiring fighter lived hours from her home and knew no one in the city.

“I went to live in an improvised room, in the gym locker room, with six other athletes, with dreams like mine, all of them coming from cities in the interior. But they couldn’t take it and ended up giving up on their dreams. I was the only one who stayed, and [I am the only one] who is still fighting for my dream,” she added.

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And now, she is in ONE Championship, trying to make a mark.

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