It’s something that those of us that don’t fight will never feel, but when a fighter breaks her opponent, the emotions are off the charts. So says current UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight dual-division champion Amanda Nunes. She should know, she’s been in that moment on several occasions with the top fighters on the planet.
Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest female fighter the sport has ever known.
“She’s the best ever,” UFC president Dana White said after Nunes defeated Cris Cyborg at UFC 232 to close out 2018. “How can you deny it? You can’t deny that she’s the best ever. That’s what this fight was for.”
Though she stumbled on a few occasions early in her career, Nunes is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak having defeated the best fighters in the world as she’s done so. Her rocket ride to being considered the best female fighter on the planet really started when she took the UFC bantamweight belt from Miesha Tate at UFC 200 in July of 2016.
“Against Miesha… when I connect a couple punches, I saw she slowly breaking. That is a very good moment for you as a fighter to see because you want to see your opponent breaking,” Nunes recounted at a UFC 239 media day in Los Angeles on Monday. Nunes returns to the Octagon to put the bantamweight belt on the line opposite Holly Holm on July 6 in Las Vegas.
“For Ronda Rousey, when I was able to connect, I saw she was done right away. She didn’t wanna be there,” Nunes added.
The bout with Rousey is what really put Nunes on the map as one of the promotion’s star attractions. Rousey had lost the bantamweight belt to Holm in late 2015. Her December 2016 bout with Nunes at UFC 207 was Rousey’s last-ditch effort to regain the title and resurrect her mixed martial arts career after the Holm defeat seemed to crush her spirit in regard to the sport.
Nunes obviously did nothing to help Rousey regain her footing, essentially slamming the cage door shut on the fighter that ushered women into the UFC.
“Move forward to Cyborg, when I connect with the first one was when it got her dropped. I saw she wasn’t gonna recover right away because she never got hit like that before, ever in her life. When you never got hit like that, you know you’re not gonna come back, because you never felt that before,” Nunes said, her face lighting up while trying to explain the feeling.
“In those moments, when you see your opponent done… definitely (it’s the best feeling in the world).”
Her firs-round knockout of Cyborg, the woman most people had considered the top female fighter in the sport to that point, cemented Nunes as the fiercest female fighter on the planet. In White’s words, there could be no denying it at that point.
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Now comes perhaps the most difficult aspect of being considered the best fighter in the world: defending that spot atop the mountain of fighters that want nothing more than to knock you off of your perch.
Nunes gladly accepts the challenge as she takes up the UFC 239 co-main event slot in her fight with Holm. UFC 239 is headlined by the man most consider to be the greatest male fighter of all time, Jon Jones, as he puts his UFC light heavyweight title on the line against Thiago Santos.
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