UFC superstar Amanda Nunes has revealed the key she believes will help her get the title back.
Former two-division champion Nunes created history when she cleared out the entire bantamweight class before setting her eyes on achieving ‘champ-champ’ status, which she did against Cris Cyborg in a move up to women’s 145 lb at UFC 232.
She’s the first woman to join the ultra-exclusive club and is also the first and only fighter to defend two UFC titles while holding both.
When Nunes took on Julianna Pena at UFC 269 in Dec. 2021, fans expected it to be a quick night’s work for the dominant champion who suffered her last defeat over seven years ago in Sep. 2014. She went into the bout on a 12-fight win streak, having dispatched the likes of Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, Miesha Tate, and Holly Holm.
Pena managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history when she dethroned Nunes to snatch the women’s bantamweight strap. A rematch was inevitable and “The Lioness” has found the fire again, re-ignited by a tough title holder who she expects will push her to the limits.
In an exclusive interview with Heavy, CELSIUS-sponsored athlete Nunes talked about her upcoming rematch with Pena at UFC 277 on July 30 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. She vowed not to succumb to the same mistakes that cost her the gold the first time around.
“The fight starts on the feet so, of course, we’re going to get in a couple of exchanges,” Nunes said. “Of course, I’m not going to make a couple of mistakes that I did in my last one.
“I feel like Julianna now is more, she’s going to be more powerful now because she became a champion.
“She’s going to be more exciting. She’s going to want to push the pace even more in the fight. I feel like that’s where I shine the most when somebody can pressure me when I have a challenge in front of me.”
Nunes Thinks That Pena Will See Her Wrestling As the Key to Victory
Nunes believes that Pena will be looking to capitalize using her wrestling, something she found success with in their first encounter.
She also reflected on the difference in her fight camp and preparations, having founded her own gym, Lion’s MMA, since making the move from American Top Team (ATT) following the loss.
“She’s going to be more precise in her wrestling just because she thinks she had success in the last fight,” she added. “So I feel like she’s going to use her wrestling thinking that’s her way to beat me.
“But, I’m going to be ready for everything. The last fight was a very bad situation for me, and in my whole camp, the fight day was as well so this time I’m 100 percent.”
Nunes Is Ready for the Fight To Go Anywhere
When asked to give her official prediction for the matchup, Nunes stated that she’s ready for the fight to go anywhere, be it on the ground or on the feet.
“You know it’s a fight I don’t see, if we’re able to get in a good exchange, go to the floor or wherever this fight goes, I know I’m going to beat her,” she said. “All my tools are very sharp. I’m a better fighter than her, and also a better champion.
“So, I feel like this fight can go anywhere. It can go to five rounds as well.
“I’m ready for everything, to finish it, to finish her on the floor, to finish her in striking. I just really need to put my game out, all my time in the fight game and that’ll get me the victory.”