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Amanda Nunes ‘wasted’ first Julianna Pena fight: ‘Everything was so bad in that camp’

UFC 269: Amanda Nunes v Julianna Pena Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Amanda Nunes is feeling in significantly better physical shape ahead of her big rematch with Julianna Pena at UFC 277.

Pena shocked the world at UFC 269 in Dec. 2021 with one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. Tasked with the consensus greatest female fighter of all time, “The Venezuelan Vixen” did the unthinkable and stopped the dual-division champion in round two with a rear-naked choke submission (watch highlights).

Now, the pair of titleholders will run things back on July 30, 2022, in Dallas, Texas. In preparation, “The Lioness” has highlighted things are going drastically better.

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MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

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“My last camp was horrible. Maybe like a 1, 2 [out of 10],” Nunes told One On One. “It was right after I had COVID, my lungs were still pretty bad, and I was trying to be able to move forward. On top of that, the injuries that I was having to go through with my knees. That was mind-blowing how everything was so bad in that camp and I still put in my head that I want to fight.”

Despite tasting her first defeat since Sept. 2014, Nunes has found plenty of positives in the result. In a way, it may end up working as the perfect motivator to get her back to her dominant ways fans have grown accustomed to.

“Everything about that fight was very good for me,” Nunes said. “Of course, I lost my belt, I don’t want to lose my belt, but it kind of takes the pressure away from me, too. For so long I had the belt with me and prepared for big fights and all those things. It’s a lot. For years and years, everything was happening in my life so fast. I become this, I become that, it’s a lot to carry yourself as.

“I was cleaning the division as well,” she concluded. “Nobody was there anymore. It’s natural you slow down a little bit.”

In the build to their rematch, Nunes and Pena coached against each other on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 30. Before that, Nunes surprisingly departed her long-time gym, American Top Team (ATT), and has now been living out of her current gym ahead of UFC 277.

Speculation began to run rampant during Nunes’ lengthy title reign as she cleaned out the 135-pound weight class. Was it close to the end for one of the all-time greats to ride off into the sunset? Perhaps ... but that may not be the case any longer.

“I can’t go away like that. That fight — I pretty much wasted.” Nunes said. “So, I have to get 100 percent. If she beats me at 100 percent, then okay, but my last fight I wasn’t so I might as well go back, training, step in that cage again.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 277 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 277: “Pena vs. Nunes 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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