During a media scrum on Friday, June 19, UFC president Dana White said that if women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes retires from fighting, he will likely ax the women’s featherweight division. Nunes competed on June 6 in the main event of UFC 250, and she defended her featherweight belt for the first time by defeating Felicia Spencer by dominant unanimous decision.
Earlier this week, Nunes spoke with MMA Fighting and she told the outlet that there was “nothing else to be done.” She said, “I’ve achieved everything I wanted. I’m well, I can go on with my life, maybe [take] a new step, maybe find new talents, help some girls there…maybe be a coach, too.”
The Lioness continued, “I’m in a moment that I can retire, you know, and I’m in a moment that I can fight. I’m fine. There’s nothing else to be done right now in the division. The Hall of Fame will come, for sure. My life going forward, if I do stop now, the UFC will give me every support I need to continue having my money and work.”
Nunes is viewed by most as the greatest women’s fighter of all time, and it would be a major loss for the promotion if she decides to retire now. Besides losing a pay-per-view star and one of the most elite fighters in the UFC, the UFC would also likely lose a division.
Dana White Said That the Women’s Featherweight Division Would Likely be Cut if Nunes Retired, Hopes to Build the Weight Class if She Doesn’t
On Friday, a reported asked White if the women’s featherweight division would continue if The Lioness hung up her gloves, and the UFC president answered, “probably not.”
Women’s featherweight is the most shallow division in the UFC — it doesn’t have official rankings as every other division has. White said, “I literally just told the guys the other day to build that division, let’s get it. Start signing girls, let’s start building that division. Now my girls talking about retirement, so apparently we have to get on the same page and figure this thing out.”
White confirmed that the women’s bantamweight division would not be eliminated.
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White Said That It’s Been a ‘Joy’ to Work With the Women in the Bantamweight Division
During the press conference, White said, “[Nunes is] having a baby. She has all these great things going on in her life right now, personally. Professionally, she’s done anything I’ve ever asked of her to do. To go from Ronda Rousey to her, it’s actually been a joy working with the women in that division.”
He also said that former women’s bantamweight champ Holly Holm is “one of the nicest human beings on planet Earth.”
Rousey was the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champion and the reason why White brought female fighting into the promotion.
Nunes has been the queen of the bantamweight division since submitting former champ Meisha Tate in the first round of UFC 200. Nunes has defended her bantamweight title five times.
At UFC 232, The Lioness won the women’s featherweight title when she knocked out Cris Cyborg in the first round. Nunes’ first title defense was on June 6 at UFC 250.