Amanda Nunes may have already been the best women’s bantamweight fighter of all time entering UFC 232 last month, but she exited the cage as the best female fighter ever with a 51-second knockout win over the seemingly unbeatable Cris Cyborg.
In return, Nunes walked out of UFC 232 with the women’s featherweight title, making her the first female fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold two belts.
While “Lioness” had laid waste to a collection of 135-pound contenders, including the likes of Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Valentina Shevchenko, nobody really thought she’d slice through Cyborg like a flamethrower to butter. After all, Cyborg entered UFC 232 unbeaten since 2005 and was widely considered the hardest-hitting female fighter in MMA today.
Despite all of her past accomplishments and elite skill set, Cyborg was unable to get past Nunes on the grand stage. Cyborg was able to land her heralded power on Nunes more than once, but “Lioness” seemed relatively, and surprisingly, unfazed.
“She didn’t [hurt me] at all,” said Nunes during a recent appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “Actually, when she connected the first time I saw that there was no power at all and I put my hands down, [and said] ‘I’m gonna go for it’. I don’t know if you see when I put my head down when she started punching me but I was more scared of the talk that she punches hard than exactly that she punched hard. You hear a lot that ‘She punches hard, she’s strong, she has knockout power!’ but when she landed, I moved my head because I was more scared of being hit than because the punch was strong.”
Given Cyborg’s reign of dominance and widespread popularity, many MMA pundits believe that an immediate rematch with Nunes is the next logical move to make. But even though Cyborg is ready to throw the gloves on again and go toe-to-toe with Nunes in 2019 the double champ doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to do a reboot.
“Cyborg doesn’t want to fight me if it takes more than a year to prepare, and right now, I don’t think she’s gonna want it because I’m gonna ask for two years to be ready for her again,” Nunes said. “She said I wanted one year to be ready for her and she didn’t want to wait that much, she don’t wanna stay without fighting but right now I’m asking for two years for the rematch.”
If a rematch with Cyborg remains that far out, fight fans will likely see Nunes defend her 135-pound title next. Nunes has been as dominant at the bantamweight level as she was against Cyborg at UFC 232 so it will be interesting to see how long see reigns atop the most stacked female division in the sport.
“Yeah I’m gonna defend my belt, my original belt,” Nunes concluded. “Yeah, for sure I’m gonna go down, defend my belt. My division is waiting for me and we will see what happens after but I don’t think Cyborg wants to wait for two years.”
We’ll have to wait and see if UFC president Dana White ultimately caves and tries to schedule a rematch between the two Brazilians. If not, expect Cyborg to finish out her UFC contract with a potential matchup against former Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson, who captured a bizarre TKO win over Cat Zingano at UFC 232.