Nunes posted a photo of herself holding the belt on Instagram with the caption: “You guys think I’m going to go out unbalanced. I undoubtedly accept the rematch. Give me a little time to get my s–t together and I will be back better than ever.”
Pena was game for a rematch immediately following her win, which came via rear naked choke in the second round of their title bout.
“We can do it next; I’m free next month, two months from now—whenever they want to do it, I’m ready,” Pena said at a post-fight news conference. “If she wants to do a rematch, we can do a rematch.”
Nunes’ loss certainly adds some intrigue to the bantamweight division and she still needs to defend her featherweight title.
Nunes Said She ‘Checked Out’ During Fight
Nunes is known as the GOAT of women’s MMA for a reason. However, she didn’t put on the dominant display fans have come to know during her win streak that dated back to 2015. Nunes admitted in the octagon following her fight that she “checked out.”
“Nothing was surprising at all,” Nunes said in her octagon interview. “I knew she was going to come forward. Just today, I checked out. I need to work on a couple of things and fix it, get back in the gym, and come back soon. Congratulations to Julianna, she’s a warrior.”
Her coach, Mike Brown, didn’t think she fought smart, condoning the decision to stand and bang with Pena.
“I think she thought maybe in her head that she’s just going to crack her and get her out of there or something,” Brown said. “But she was just not setting anything up.”
Amanda Nunes Called Out for Getting Beat Mentally
Nunes faced some criticism following the massive upset. She was listed as a -1000 favorite for the fight, which is one of the highest numbers you’ll see in MMA betting. Chael Sonnen said the loss was more mental than physical for Nunes.
“That was 100 percent mental beating, zero percent physical. That submission wasn’t there,” Sonnen said “That was not a move. That was absolutely not a fighting technique. Julianna was in a terrible position, and Amanda quit. That’s OK. Everybody goes through that at some point. I only point that out not to kick her, I point that out because that’s what the surprise was. If she got kicked like Ronda did or knocked out like Mike did, we just chalk it up to a big upset and a glorious night. To mentally check out and hand it all back in only seven minutes, a bit of a surprise.”
With a rematch now on the books, we’ll see how Nunes can improve for their next fight and reclaim the belt. It also probably put a hold on the mega-fight the UFC was eyeing between Nunes and free agent fighter Kayla Harrison.
“These are those things, man,” UFC president Dana White said after the fight. “For like a Kayla Harrison, the Amanda Nunes fight was huge. I mean, if they would have faced off, it would have been a massive, you know, mega-million-dollar fight.”