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UFC Double Champion Amanda Nunes Hints at Retirement



Perhaps another tally mark will be added to the UFC’s recent fighter retirement spree. UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes announced this week that she is considering hanging up her gloves following a dominant defense of her 145-pound title against Felicia Spencer at UFC 250. She joins the likes of Jon Jones, Henry Cejudo, Conor McGregor, and Jorge Masvidal, who have all announced a desire to walk away from the sport in the last several weeks. 



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Unlike her male counterparts, however, Nunes is not walking away due to a contract dispute with the promotion. Instead, she feels as though she has accomplished enough in the sport, and she wants to focus on family duties moving forward. Her wife and fellow UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff are expecting their first daughter later this year, and Nunes had expressed a desire to take the rest of the year off to be with her wife and daughter after UFC 250

Speaking to Brazilian TV outlet Esporte Espectacular Sunday, Nunes expounded on her plans and didn’t rule out the possibility of retirement. 

Ah, I don’t know. I’ve achieved everything I wanted,” Nunes said (translation by MMA Fighting). 

“I’m in a moment that I can retire, you know, and I’m in a moment that I can fight. I’m fine. There’s nothing else to be done right now in the division. The Hall of Fame will come, for sure. My life going forward, if I do stop now, the UFC will give me every support I need to continue having my money and work.”


Future Hall of Famer indeed. Nunes (20-4) boasts the most decorated resume in women’s MMA history, having beaten the who’s who in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions.


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Her current 11-fight winning streak began in 2015 with a devastating 1st round TKO of Shayna Baszler with Nunes demolishing Baszler’s knee with leg kicks and ending her UFC tenure. Nunes’ knockout power was unlike anyone else’s on the women’s roster. If she made contact with her mighty fists, her opponents’ gameplans went out the window, and they retreated into defensive mode. 

She did precisely that in her next fight against former Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann. Nunes tagged her with a massive straight right that sent McMann to the canvas and dazed her enough for Nunes to take her neck home for the 1st round submission. 

At UFC 196, she had a fun back-and-forth fight against Valentina Shevchenko that could have gone either way, but the judges saw Nunes do enough to earn her the nod unanimously. Her third consecutive win also earned Nunes her first UFC championship fight against Miesha Tate, who would go on to win the title from Holly Holm that same night at UFC 196

That title fight four months later ended up being a stroll in the park for Nunes. Tate attempted two early takedowns to take Nunes’ power out of the equation, but Nunes stuffed her both times and began to stalk the defending champ like prey. She pieced up Tate on the feet until she couldn’t handle the power, and Nunes once again sunk in the rear-naked choke inside the 1st round to become the bantamweight champion. 


Her championship win was a spoiler of sorts, as many were clamoring for Tate to defend her belt against her archrival, Ronda Rousey, in a highly-touted trilogy fight. Nevertheless, Rousey returned from a year-long layoff to challenge the new champion Nunes instead. 



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In the fight’s buildup, all promotional material by the UFC was centered around the return of Rousey, despite the former champion refusing to do media obligations because she felt wronged by reporters since her loss to Holm at UFC 193. Meanwhile, Nunes, who was the reigning champion, sat in the shadows, as she was being billed as the “B-side” in her first title defense. 

Ultimately, Nunes did her talking where it really counted: in the Octagon. She spoiled the party once again, this time demolishing Rousey in 48 seconds with a standing TKO and cementing her status as the queen of the division. Her 1st round finishes were becoming her signature trademark, and the fans or the company could no longer ignore her. 

Her next two successful title defenses against her archrival, Shevchenko, and then against Raquel Pennington had Nunes rolling on all cylinders, and the UFC saw it best to match up this freight train against a monster from another division: Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Surely, if anyone could handle the power of Nunes, it would be the consensus’ greatest female fighter of all time. 



“Cyborg” was on a legendary run at the time, having not met defeat since her MMA debut, 22 fights earlier in 2005. Like Nunes, “Cyborg” also had a vicious striking game with well-documented power in her hands and plenty of knockouts. This would be the two most powerful females in MMA history fighting for the ultimate crown as the greatest of all time.



Photo Credit: Kyusung Gong

The two Brazilian strikers stood toe-to-toe in the center of the Octagon and traded massive punches, each looking for the knockout. Once again, Nunes defied all expectations by not only beating the featherweight queen but doing so in the only way she could to leave no doubt. Fifty-one seconds was all it took for Nunes to dethrone “Cyborg” and become the UFC’s first female champ-champ. 

She followed up her historic win with yet another first-round knockout, this time over Holly Holm, to defend her bantamweight title, followed by a dominant decision over Germaine de Randamie. Her featherweight title defense against Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 was yet another feather in her cap, becoming the only champ-champ in UFC history to hold and defend both her championship belts concurrently. 

Against all the odds, Nunes continued to surpass all expectations and kept setting records that may never be equaled. She has cleared two divisions and left not a single contender as a worthy challenger. Given the trail of defeated women she has left behind, perhaps it is not surprising that she is considering retirement, as there is little left to accomplish.


Maybe her retirement will be a temporary one, long enough for a new hungry contender to develop and bring her back to the Octagon. Until then, all hail “The Lioness” as she has no equal in her kingdom. 

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-Leo Schauer – Franchise Sports Media 

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