Ahead of 2021’s final pay-per-view, Nunes held both the 135 and 145-pound belts, had defended both a combined seven times, was unbeaten since 2014, and had won 12 straight inside the Octagon. Among her victims were Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Holly Holm, and Valentina Shevchenko.
Peña wasn’t about to be added to that list.
In an upset that shook the sport, “The Venezuelan Vixen” took the fight to the “Lioness” in the second round, submitting her in front of a sold-out Las Vegas crowd in the UFC 269 co-main event.
While her bantamweight reign came to a crashing halt that night, Nunes still left the T-Mobile Arena with the featherweight gold in her possession. However, Peña has now posed the question – does that count?
Peña: Who Is Nunes The Champ Of?
In 2018, Nunes provided a memorable upset of her own, knocking out Cyborg at UFC 232 to become a two-division titleholder. But while she’s defended the 145-pound strap twice since, both of those challengers, Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer, have made swift exits from the promotion.
The featherweight division is now largely a wasteland, with no rankings and very little activity. With that in mind, the bantamweight queen questioned Nunes’ champion status during a recent interview with The Schmo.
“Well, let’s talk about this for a second. So Holly (Holm) and Germaine (de Randamie) both said that they’re not going back to featherweight at 145 and they are going to stay true bantamweights at 135; Megan Anderson retired; Felicia Spencer retired; can you name anybody else in the division other than Amanda? She’s the champ of the ‘45 division of who?
“Yeah, so she says that she’s still the champ of one person. So that’s nice,” said Peña.
Having previously disputed Nunes’ credentials as the promotion’s first “mom champ,” downplaying the Brazilian’s champion status, period, will likely not go down too well.
Perhaps it’s something that will come up during this year’s season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will feature both as coaches ahead of their rematch. If the TUF face-off and media interactions in February were anything to go by, Nunes will be displaying her featherweight gold loud and proud.
Do you agree with Julianna Peña’s take on Amanda Nunes’ champion status?