Last December, Nunes’ two-division rule came to a crash halt courtesy of a thought-to-be unlikely source. Having remained undefeated since a 2014 setback against Cat Zingano, a period that saw her collect 12 straight wins, the “Lioness” fell from the mountaintop in the UFC 269 co-main event.
The woman to drag her down, both figuratively and literally, was The Ultimate Fighter‘s first female victor. Despite her status as a massive underdog, Peña delivered a gameplan akin to all her pre-fight talk. After grounding Nunes in the second round, “The Venezuelan Vixen” applied a choke to force the tap and secure her membership in the UFC’s champions’ club.
While Nunes’ immediate reaction to the defeat was gracious, she’s since suggested that it heavily came as a result of a poor training camp that was riddled with injuries and the after-effects of COVID-19.
Now, as the pair race towards their headlining rematch at UFC 277, Nunes has quantified just how hampering her camp woes were.
Nunes: It Was “Mind-blowing” That I Still Wanted To Fight Peña
During a recent interview on One-On-One with Laura Sanko, Nunes assessed what went wrong at 2021’s final pay-per-view.
When asked to rate her fight camp out of 10, the Brazilian firmly lent towards the lower end of the scale, admitting that, knowing she wasn’t anyone near 100%, she shouldn’t have entered the Octagon that night.
“Man, my last camp was horrible, horrible… A number (out of 10)? Maybe like, one or two,” Nunes said. “It was like, right after I had COVID. My lungs (were) still pretty bad. I tried to be able to move forward and (I’d) get home so sick. On top of that, the injuries that I was having to go through with my knees. That was just mind-blowing how everything was so bad in the camp and I still put in my head that I wanted to fight.
“Bad things was happening in that camp that was telling me like, maybe if the UFC wanna put an interim belt to make the division go, you should let it, get 100% and then jump in again,” Nunes added. “But I decided to step into the cage that night. But two (out of 10). I was pretty bad in that camp.”
While Nunes continues to cite a poor camp as one of the main reasons behind her defeat in Las Vegas, bantamweight queen Peña has branded her remarks as nothing but excuses and a failure to accept defeat.
Having left American Top Team and created her own facility, which she says has benefitted her massively ahead of her shot at redemption on July 30, we’ll seemingly find out how much of an impact Nunes’ pre-UFC 269 camp had on the result when she steps into the cage with Peña at 100% in Dallas.
Do you think Amanda Nunes will exact revenge on Julianna Peña at UFC 277?