From the outside looking in, it may seem as if Amanda Nunes doesn’t have much to fight for these days as far as legacy is concerned. Granted, “Lioness” still likes to collect hefty paydays as the lone Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) “champ-champ,” but she’s already accomplished more than most fighters ever will in their lifetimes, and fighting frequently doesn’t seem to be her main objective these days.
For former Light Heavyweight title challenger and current ESPN+ analyst, Anthony Smith, it appear as if Nunes is enjoying fighting and all the responsibilities outside the cage that come with it. That’s why “Lionheart” actually looks forward to the day that the pound-for-pound best female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the world hangs up her gloves.
“Is it weird that, at times, I look forward to Amanda Nunes’ retirement?” Smith asked on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “It’s a very weird sentiment I have. Sometimes when I see her in these fight weeks, in these interviews, and she’s dragged her whole family there, and then she gets in and she fights — sometimes I almost feel bad for her.
“Like, just go enjoy your life, and just go have fun,” Smith continued. “Like, stop doing all this shht. Because a lot of times she doesn’t seem to always enjoy it that much.”
Nunes, 35, will soon be a mother of two, which could lead to perhaps even more time away from the sport for the devastating knockout artist. In fact, she has only competed five times since Dec. 2019 as double champion.
Her lone hiccup during her incredible run, which has seen her win 13 of 14 fights came against Julianna Pena in Dec. 2021, though she did return with a vengeance to recapture her 135-pound belt six months later. Still, Smith says Nunes may be happier all around if she just focuses on other aspects of her life.
“I don’t know, I just feel like she’s in a position where she can just, there’s so much — she has a whole lifetime ahead of her. And she’s done so much and, again, like, what else does she have to prove? At all?
“I just almost look forward to her to be able to just go off and just do something else great,” he added. I know that sounds weird, [but] I mean that in a really positive way. I mean that in a really positive way. I just want her to be happy.”
If Nunes defeats Irene Aldana at UFC 289 inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, this Saturday night (June 10, 2023), she will collect her sixth title defense at 135 pounds, further cementing her legacy as the best female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter of all time.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 289 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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