Amanda Nunes has been on quite a roll.
The reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title holder is set for another defense. She’ll put her 135-pound gold on the line against Raquel Pennington in the main event of UFC 224. The action takes place inside the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12.
This will be Nunes’ third title defense. She’s riding a six-fight winning streak. Her opponent has won four straight bouts, including a lopsided decision win over Miesha Tate.
As we get closer to UFC 224, it’s time to take a look at Nunes’ career-defining moments. Let’s dive in:
4. Submitting Sara McMann – UFC Fight Night 73
This was perhaps the earliest sign that Nunes was ready for championship level competition. Back in Sept. 2014, “The Lioness” was finished by Cat Zingano. Nunes had success early in the fight, but she emptied out her gas tank and Zingano was able to capitalize. After running through Shayna Baszler, Nunes was given a stern test in Sara McMann.
Up to this point, McMann had only lost to Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Nunes passed with flying colors. She submitted McMann in the first round and made a strong case for a future bantamweight title shot. Only Rousey had finished McMann prior.
3. Adapting In Valentina Shevchenko Rematch – UFC 215
Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko II certainly didn’t win any awards for “Fight of the Year,” but it didn’t have to. “The Lioness” and “Bullet” were neck and neck until the final horn sounded in their women’s bantamweight title bout at UFC 215. In the end, Nunes retained her gold via split decision.
Of course there are some who are quick to yell, “robbery” but the big picture is lost here. In her first bout with Shevchenko, Nunes pulled away in the first two rounds but started fading in the third frame. That didn’t happen here as the champion was able to pace herself and didn’t waste her energy. It’s a career-defining moment that proved “The Lioness” is at the top of the food chain.
2. Capturing UFC Gold – UFC 200
There was a time when UFC president Dana White said females would never compete in the UFC. Fast forward to 2016 and a women’s title bout headlined UFC 200. While Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier was the initial main event, it’s still quite the feat for women to headline a card that featured the likes of Brock Lesnar, Daniel Cormier, Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, and Cain Velasquez.
The only person standing in Nunes’ way from capturing UFC gold was Miesha Tate, who won the title after submitting Holly Holm. “The Lioness” rocked Tate early and broke her nose. “Cupcake” hit the canvas and was submitted via rear-naked choke in the first-round. Nunes had finally realized her dream and she looked unstoppable in the process.
1. Decimating Ronda Rousey – UFC 207
The most high-profile bout in Nunes’ career is undoubtedly her title defense against Ronda Rousey. “Rowdy” had become a polarizing figure in the sport of MMA due to the barriers she broke for women in the sport. She was also dominant with quick submission victories. Her aura was shattered when she was knocked out by Holly Holm. Many were eagerly anticipating Rousey’s return to see how she would fare against Nunes.
“The Lioness” proved once and for all that the guard was changing. She ran through Rousey in just 48 seconds to earn a TKO victory. This was likely Rousey’s last MMA bout, but for Nunes you can bet there are plenty more to come.
Do you think Amanda Nunes can top Ronda Rousey’s title defense record?