Nunes, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest female fighters in MMA history, is set to defend her bantamweight belt for the first time since her 2019 victory over Germaine de Randamie. Since submitting Miesha Tate to win 135-pound gold at UFC 200, “Lioness” has defended the title five times.
But in recent years, Nunes’ focus has been on a more competitive featherweight division. A five-round win against Felicia Spencer last Summer seemingly left Nunes with little challenge to her reign left. A 30-second mauling of Megan Anderson in March proved exactly that.
But despite her utter dominance and the birth of her child, Nunes isn’t done entertaining us in the Octagon just yet. After words were exchanged between the pair on Twitter, it was announced that the 33-year-old would be defending her bantamweight title against “The Venezuelan Vixen” Julianna Peña at UFC 265.
But Valentina Shevchenko, another of the UFC’s dominant champions, doesn’t believe Nunes’ latest title defense will be as comfortable as some of her past fights.
In an interview with MiddleEasy, the Bishkek-born flyweight suggested Nunes’ defense against Peña will be an intriguing bout to watch.
“I think it’s going to be a good fight, a very interested fight to watch. It all depends what mental and physical conditions are going to be at that point, but I think it’s going to be a very interesting fight to watch,” Shevchenko said.
“Bullet” added that Peña will offer Nunes fresh challenges that could lead to defeat for the double-champion.
“I think Julianna has a lot of chances, and definitely she poses a lot of physical challenges to Amanda, a lot of grappling maybe. This is what she’s going to do, right? She’s not going to stand with Amanda and strike with her and decide who has the stronger punch. I don’t think this is the idea of the fight, and I think she has a lot of opportunities to find the key for victory. It’s MMA, you never know what’s going to happen the next second.”
While Shevchenko believes Peña could have her arm raised at UFC 265, the Kyrgyzstani failed to do so herself on two occasions. The 125-pound champ faced Nunes at UFC 196 and UFC 215, losing on the judges’ scorecards at both PPV’s.
But having gone 7-0 since, won flyweight gold and defended her title five times, a third fight with the Brazilian could be on the cards. Despite Dana White’s scepticism, should Nunes retain against Pena, many believe not much would be left for her aside from completing a memorable trilogy with Shevchenko.
Do you think Peña has a chance at victory against Nunes at UFC 265?