Former UFC Champion Is No Longer a ‘Hungry Savage,’ Dana White Says

Dana White

Getty Dana White

According to UFC president Dana White, women’s 145-pound champion Amanda Nunes is no longer the “hungry savage” that she used to be.

At 34 years old, Nunes is viewed as the consensus greatest female fighter of all time. With a professional mixed martial arts record of 21-5, she’s beaten the likes of Valentina Shevchenko, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Meisha Tate and Germaine de Randamie.

“The Lioness” is also the only woman in UFC history to simultaneously hold two divisional titles, carrying both the featherweight and bantamweight straps.

In her last outing, Nunes lost her 135-pound championship to Julianna Pena at UFC 269 in December. It was her first defeat since 2014, losing the bout via second-round rear-naked choke. The two are set to rematch at UFC 277 on July 30.

While speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto ahead of UFC 275 this past weekend, the UFC president was asked about the upcoming clash between Pena and Nunes. And White believes The Lioness isn’t the same fighter as she used to be due to her success inside the Octagon, as well as becoming a parent.

“The question is, for Amanda – and this is what happens to all fighters – you know the big narrative we don’t pay anybody? Amanda’s rich,” White said via MMA Junkie. “Amanda is a multi-millionaire who is now at a completely different financial status. She has a baby now. Her life – she is not that hungry savage she was when she started to take this run at becoming a world champion. A lot of that factors in.”

White Said Earning the UFC Belt ‘Opens a Lot of Doors’ for Pena

On the other hand, White sees Pena as highly motivated to defeat The Lioness again and obtain “that Amanda Nunes level.”

“And now Julianna’s at a place where she beat her, Julianna’s starting to see a lot of the things that come along with being the world champion now – financially, popularity as you get out in the world,” White continued. “That belt is the key that opens a lot of doors. So I’m sure she wants to get to that Amanda Nunes level, financially and everything else. All that stuff factors into the fight, and those are all questions I can’t answer.”

Pena (11-4) has competed nine times inside the Octagon. She is the first-ever female winner on “The Ultimate Fighter,” and she’s beaten notable names like Nunes, Nicco Montano, Sara McMann and Cat Zingano.

Nunes ‘Does Not Like Julianna,’ White Said

Pena and Nunes are the current coaches of this season’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” And although the UFC president hasn’t personally seen an altercation between the two, he knows Nunes “does not like” Pena. But even so, White said Nunes’ legacy is intact, even if she loses to Pena again.

“I haven’t seen it, but I do know she does not like Julianna,” White continued. “She thinks Julianna has a big mouth and all that other stuff. For her, that would have to be her motivation is to beat Julianna because she doesn’t like her – because for all the other reasons, Amanda doesn’t need to win the fight.”

The women’s bantamweight title rematch will serve as the headlining act of UFC 277, which is set to take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on July 30.

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