Former UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has provided more context for why she decided to leave her longtime gym American Top Team (ATT).
Nunes left ATT following her loss to Julianna Peña at UFC 269 last December. She hinted at a desire to have her own private space for training as being a significant reason for her choosing to part ways with the gym.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Trocacao Franca podcast, Nunes explained how additions to ATT such as Harrison and UFC fighter Yana Kunitskaya changed her perception of the gym.
“There’s that saying, like it or lump it. I was bothered by the whole situation, of course,” Nunes said. “There were no girls when I got to American Top Team. I was the first woman to bring two belts and put the women’s team in history. When Kayla got there and then Kunitskaya, it began creating a weird situation for me because that was my territory.
“And then Kayla started talking. I was kind of, ‘Man, I’m not safe even in my territory.’ I was kind of cornered, even because we share the same coaches. She trains with Mike Brown and I train with Mike Brown. I was already training with them when she got there.
“If there’s someone that carries the name of the team, that’s me, who brought two belts (to ATT). If I wasn’t who I really am, a champion in two divisions, cool, no problem. But I was the champion already. She would have to train somewhere else to fight me.” (h/t BJ Penn)
Harrison re-signed with the PFL despite talks with the UFC and Bellator during her free agency. She most recently alluded that wins over Nunes and Bellator champion Cris Cyborg would cement her status as the greatest female fighter.
Nunes is coaching the current season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Pena and the two bantamweights will face off in a rematch later this year. With Harrison re-joining the PFL for at least this season, talks of a fight with Nunes seem to be on hold for now, but Nunes has still felt the impact of Harrison’s rise at ATT.
What are your thoughts on Amanda Nunes’ comments about her ATT exit?