It’s undeniable Ronda Rousey’s shadow has loomed large over the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight division; particularly when she was dominating the weight class prior to suffering back-to-back losses. In fact, when she announced her return following her knockout loss to Holly Holm to face division champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, all of the promotion’s attention went to her ... not the newly-minted champion.
But, Nunes flipped the script and knocked out “Rowdy” in less than one minute to defend her title (full fight here), all while potentially ending Rousey’s fighting future for good. The lack of promotion for “Lioness” didn’t really bother her, but she says it’s obvious she still has to fight and win convincingly to prove she is indeed a qualified champion.
“Everybody knows how it was with the Ronda promo,” Nunes laughed. “I think I got more attention against Miesha than when I defended my belt, when I was champion. I got more attention when I was the challenger than when I was the champion,” she told UFC.com. “I still have to keep proving myself, I have to keep winning and put on a show. It’s not going to be easy — it takes time until people realize ‘she’s the real deal’ or whatever they’re gonna think. It’s long, but one day people will think I’m the best here.”
For Nunes, fighting to get noticed and approval is nothing new, as she says she’s been fighting her whole life to get the recognition she deserves.
“I think the thing that I have to show is that I can keep evolving and winning fights, but I’m okay with that,” she added. “My whole life has been like that. This thing doesn’t bother me because it is what it is. If you have to go through this, I’m stronger for going through this.”
While Rousey is on yet another hiatus from mixed martial arts (MMA) — but not the television talkshow airwaves — Nunes is still going strong, looking to secure her first-ever title defense at UFC 213 this weekend (Sat., July 8, 2017) against Valentina Shevchenko. With a win, she will secure her second straight win over “Bullet” and fifth overall. Then maybe, just maybe, she will get the championship-caliber admiration and appreciation she truly deserves.
To learn all about UFC 213 click here.