Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s “champ-champ,” Amanda Nunes, recently announced her plans to split with her long-time camp, American Top Team (ATT), in order to start her own gym in South Florida.
The move comes one month after her upset loss at the hands of Julianna Pena, who submitted “Lioness” at UFC 269 via rear-naked choke to win the Bantamweight belt (see it again here). The two are likely to run it back in an instant rematch later this year. Ahead of the do-over, Pena commented on Nunes’ decision to leave the team that she’s called home for eight years and helped her win gold in two separate divisions.
“Yeah, what a zoo, huh?” Pena said during the UFC 270 media day (via MMA Junkie). “Best of luck. I just hope everything goes according to her plans and that we can get this fight booked. That’s all I care about.”
While a rematch should be intriguing to say the least, there is at least one more person who doesn’t see a different outcome. According to Miesha Tate, who lost the 135-pound belt to Nunes at UFC 200, “Lioness” now has doubt on her mind and it will be something that she won’t be able to push through.
“She [Pena] just has a no quit, no give up mentality and now that the seed of doubt has been planted in Amanda’s mind, that’s probably where I see the biggest change going,” Tate said on a recent appearance on The MMA Hour (via BJPenn.com). “That’s not gonna favor Amanda.
“Once someone dethrones you, it’s such a big tumble and then you’ve got to try to fix things, and the mental shift that happens in all of that, I imagine it’s very challenging to try and get right back up there and fight the person who just figured out how to unlock Pandora’s Box,” she continued. “You know what I mean? How do you come up with something they haven’t seen, when you don’t have time to try and develop it and use it on someone else.”
Of course, Pena is one of Tate’s oldest training partners so it’s no mystery as to why “Cupcake” backs “The Venezuelan Vixen” in the rematch.
But, at the end of the day, that’s the reason they fight and the two are on a collision course to tango one more time in a bout that will either end the rivalry or set up a trilogy fight down the road. And according to the bookies, a third fight is highly possible.