Reigning UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes doesn’t have much to prove this weekend at UFC 250 when she takes on featherweight contender Felicia Spencer, but “Lioness” can still add to an already iron-clad career resume.
Nunes, who hasn’t lost since 2014, has dominated the competition over the past six years. With victories over Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Miesha Tate, and Valentina Shevchenko, there’s no debate that the Brazilian champion is the best female fighter of all time. It’s an accomplishment that Nunes proudly carries around with her even if she isn’t the type of fighter to flaunt her current GOAT status.
“Honestly, yeah, because I did it,” Nunes told MMA Junkie. “I did everything. I proved it already. I feel like I hear so many other things, too, and I’m OK about it – bad things. Not that I’m OK about it, but it is what it is. People say things, what am I going to do? Am I going to punch them? No. I have to listen and let it go. … So if you can handle that, when people talk sh-t about me, I’ll be able to handle anything else, you know? So when they tell me I’m the best and I’m the greatest, I think it, too. I am. I proved it.
“I beat all the good girls, the champions, the former champions. (Cris) Cyborg, everybody was terrified of her. She would beat everybody. Thirteen years without losing. Ronda Rousey. Holly Holm. All of the big names. Miesha Tate. Valentina Shevchenko. All of those girls are very tough girls. Those fights made me who I am today. Now, if I have to go through a war, I’m going to. That’s made me stronger. I am the ‘Lioness.’”
Nunes, 32, has nothing left to prove in the sport of MMA. If her career ended this weekend at UFC 250 she would still go down as the greatest fighter in women’s MMA history, until some other fighter put together a similar six-year campaign of sheer dominance.
Still, despite her current spot in MMA history, Nunes is striving to add more to her resume and prove that she can still accomplish other feats, like defending her UFC featherweight title for the first time.
“Honestly, I just want to keep doing this, keep fighting,” Nunes said. “I feel like this is my job and always was, from day 1 in my life. I love to do this. I don’t know what I would do without fighting. This is the thing that I like to do: training and fighting. This is what I like to get ready for when I wake up in the morning and do. I will be very sad one day, maybe when I retire, when I don’t wake up and go to the gym. Being able to go do something else, that is going to be very weird for me, because I’m going to do something else one day. I know that. But to think about it, that I’m going to wake up to go to the office and not the gym, that’s going to be weird for me.
“For now, I just want to keep doing this. Whatever life shows me, I want to see what it is. Now it’s Felicia Spencer and the first time defending the 145-pound belt, and after that, it’s probably going to be 135. There’s going to be new faces coming up. I can see what life is going to show to me.”
With plans to continue fighting it’s important for Nunes to remain on top after this weekend’s clash with Spencer. And while many casual fight fans may not know how good Spencer truly is — she went 15 minutes with Cyborg in her second UFC fight — “Lioness” understands the dangers and is proceeding with caution.
“This girl is good,” Nunes said. “Everybody underestimated her, but I’m not. I’m ready for her. That is the first rule in my book: Never underestimate an opponent. This girl went three rounds with Cyborg. There’s a reason she’s going to face me on Saturday, and I’m ready for her. I’m looking at it like I’m facing another Cyborg in front of me. It’s the way I look at it, and I’m ready for her.
“I’m so ready for this fight, and I really look at her that she’s going to be ready. I know she’s going to. She’s not coming there to lose. She’s going to step in there and try to get this belt, but she’s not going to get it. I’m going to be ready for her.”
Nunes may be a full go moving forward but that hasn’t stopped her from thinking about life after fighting. With a baby on the way with girlfriend and fellow UFC fighter, Nina Ansaroff, “Lioness” is looking forward to her journey behind the cage.
But for now, Nunes’ day job is simply too exciting.
“I also want to do other things,” Nunes said. “I want to be able to spend more time with my family in Brazil. I want to do so many things, but I think now that I can’t. I love this so much. My mother always asks me, ‘You’re going to stop when you’re 40-something or 50? You have to really start thinking about it,’ but it’s so hard for me to think that. This is the fight of my life, and I love this adrenaline. This is what I love to feel: fight week.
“For my mind, my heart, this is something that brings me in the mood I like to feel. I don’t know what I’m going to do to feel those things when I retire.”
UFC 250 will take place later tonight (Sat., June 6, 2020) live on ESPN+ PPV from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, with Nunes vs. Spencer serving as the main event.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 250 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
See the complete UFC 250 fight card and lineup right here.