UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes has further explained her decision to part ways with the American Top Team gym.
Before December 2021, it was perhaps difficult to imagine Nunes, the then-two-division champion, being in a position to make changes to her preparation outside the Octagon in order to rebound from a crushing loss.
The woman who made that unlikely scenario a reality was Julianna Peña.
At UFC 269, the final pay-per-view of last year, “The Venezuelan Vixen” defied the odds to end Nunes’ 12-fight win streak, hand the Brazilian her first taste of defeat since 2014, and take home the bantamweight gold.
Following the result, which was branded by many as the greatest upset in UFC history, it was revealed that Nunes had decided to leave the renowned American Top Team gym, which had been her training home since 2014 and for the duration of her remarkable reign over both the 145 and 135-pound weight classes.
During a media scrum earlier this month, Nunes explained her departure, which came as a surprise to many given the immense success she achieved at the Coconut Creek, Florida-based facility.
The “Lioness” revealed that, regardless of her recent setback, opening her own private training space was always the target.
“I always wanted to open a private spot, you know. I never said I’m gonna open a gym to compete against (ATT), that never came out my mouth,” said Nunes. “But I’ve always wanted to have like, a private space for me. Because, even at American Top Team, I always did my thing separately. I had my time to go and have the coach there waiting for me to help me with my camp. So, it was always like that.
“It was always in my head that one day, I want to have (my own) space,” added Nunes. “I wanna see all my victories on the wall, putting my logo (up). Honestly, I feel like a lot of fighters wanna do that at some point in their career. This is the moment for me. I wanna go on my own for a little bit.”
Nunes Says The Door Is Still Open For Her At ATT
With that in mind, Nunes confirmed that there has been no break or souring in relations between herself and the coaching, ownership, and team over at ATT. Instead, the reigning featherweight queen suggested the door is still open for her to enter the gym to train at any time.
“American Top Team, together we did amazing things. All the coaches, the gym, the owner Dan Lambert; I feel like we did everything for each other. But now, for me, for my head, for now I feel like I should go do what I really want. I feel like I deserve to do what I want to do. It’s nothing to do with the gym. Actually, we’re still good. I can still walk in the gym and train whenever I want. I didn’t close the door because (nothing) happened. I did it my way, but we did a lot of things together. We made history together,” Nunes concluded.
Despite maintaining a good relationship with individuals at ATT, including longtime head coach Mike Brown, Nunes will be employing the help of some former ATT mentors for her upcoming stint as a coach on this year’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter, namely wrestling coach Kami Barzini and Roger Krahl.
As well as entering the fight at 100% and injury free, something she says wasn’t the case prior to UFC 269, Nunes will be hoping that some fresh faces in her camp will help her rebound immediately in 2022 and secure redemption against Peña.
Do you think Amanda Nunes can exact revenge on Julianna Peña in their rematch later this year?