Friday, August 19, 2022

Amanda Nunes Confirms Julianna Peña’s “Fire” Theory

UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes has confirmed that Julianna Peña‘s assessment of their December 2021 fight is correct.

At UFC 269, the final pay-per-view of last year, then-double champion Nunes entered the T-Mobile Arena expecting to add the name of another victim to her lengthy bantamweight reign. And having defended the gold five times against stars like Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko, not many thought different.

One woman who did, though, was the challenger. After displaying an air of confidence that was far from synonymous with the attitude of Nunes’ previous foes, Peña entered the Octagon and backed up her words, submitting the “Lioness” in the second round.

A lot has been said on both sides since the defeat, with the former champ laying blame on injuries and a poor training camp, and the new 135-pound queen accusing Nunes of not accepting the loss.

But while they may disagree on the reasons behind the result and the post-fight reaction, they do share a sentiment in one regard.

Nunes: Peña Loss Brought The Fire Back

As the pair gear up for their rematch, which is set to headline UFC 277 at the culmination of this year’s The Ultimate Fighter season, there’s a little uncertainty among the fanbase as to what they can expect from a Nunes who was beaten for the first time in seven years at the hands of Peña.

Although some have written off Nunes following the devastating setback, “The Venezuelan Vixen” is expecting a focused and motivated “Lioness” come July 30, believing that the upset loss “lit a fire” under the Brazilian.

That theory’s now been corroborated by Nunes herself, who recently admitted that the result was a wake-up call and “very good” for her during an interview with Laura Sanko.

“Everything about that fight was very good for me. It’s like, of course, I lost my belt. I don’t want to lose my belt. But it kinda took the pressure away from me, too,” Nunes said. “It’s like, for so long I had the belt with me and fight, prepare for big fights and all those things. And it’s a lot. And it was for years and years. Everything was happening in my life so fast…and it’s a lot to carry sometimes.

“And I was cleaning (out) the division as well. Nobody was there anymore. So of course, it’s natural (that) you will slow down a little bit,” Nunes added.

Feeling as though she’s had a hefty chunk of pressure lifted from her shoulders in the form of 50% of the gold she held, Nunes has learned to enjoy her surroundings more. And having found her hunger again, the 34-year-old is intent on returning to the bantamweight throne.

“And then also, I became all those things, my life got so good, and my foundations was all taken care of, so now I want to travel a little bit. So even that. I made all this history, but I have to do something with it, you know? I have to enjoy my life a little bit,” Nunes said.

“So then I started (traveling). Of course, I started to do things, enjoy a little bit (what) I made around me. If I don’t enjoy, things gonna pass by, I’m gonna get old soon, you know? And I was enjoying a little bit, of course. And that fight kinda like, bring that fire back. After that fight, it was like, you know what? I cannot leave my belt. I cannot go away like that.

“That fight, I pretty much (wasted). So I have to get 100%. I have to get in my camp (how) I would like to (train), and jump in there 100%. And if she beat me (at) 100%, OK,” Nunes concluded.

How much fire Peña truly did light under Nunes will be answered at UFC 277, when the pair of elite 135lbers head to Dallas for a stint in the main event spotlight.

Can Julianna Peña upset Amanda Nunes again at UFC 277?

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