Nunes Seeks History, GOAT Status at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes has the opportunity to make history in Las Vegas on Dec. 29, when she faces UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg in the main event of UFC 232.
Already the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Nunes will become the first woman in UFC history to hold two divisions’ titles simultaneously with a win over Cyborg. She will also become the third UFC fighter overall to accomplish this feat (after Conor McGregor and current UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier), the sixth UFC fighter to win titles in two different weight classes at any point and be the first woman to do so (the other five are Cormier, McGregor, Georges St Pierre, BJ Penn and Randy Couture).
“This is the moment. There wasn’t much going on in both divisions, so I think this fight will make a lot of noise in women’s MMA in a way we haven’t seen before,” Nunes said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “I’m very anxious. If you’re going to fight the best fighters, you have to be prepared for a war, a highly-anticipated fight. That’s what matters, to put on a show for the fans and continue to make history.”
There is no love lost between Nunes and Cyborg, and it even showed during negotiations. Cyborg has expressed interest in Nunes stepping up in weight class to challenge her, but she wanted the fight to take place this month or next month.
Cyborg even went as far as to previously say Nunes can’t handle the pressure such a fight of this caliber could bring.
“She can say whatever she wants,” Nunes said. “When the cage closes it’s only me and her, and we’ll find out. But she can think whatever she wants. I think Cris is a tough athlete and it won’t be an easy fight. When we’re in there, we have to be prepared for everything, and I’m prepared for everything.
I know she puts pressure, and I will be prepared to deal with that pressure and counter the entire time — and also put pressure on the right time and win the fight wherever we are. It will be a spectacular fight. Don’t blink, anything can happen.
In fact, Nunes wasn’t interested in facing Cyborg originally, but that all changed after a conversation with coach and UFC alumnus Din Thomas.
“Din Thomas told me, ‘You have to do something different, you have to make history,’ something like that, and I said he was right,” Nunes said. “Sometime after, Din Thomas said in an interview, ‘Amanda will fight Cris.’ I was like, ‘You know what, man, that conversation happened for a reason.’ It’s happened at the right time because my division is still moving and still needs some fights to really decide the next top contender for me. Cris’ division has nothing happening as well, there’s no one in that division, and the UFC kind of has its hands tied with that division. There are no big fights, too.
I think it makes sense for the 135-pound champion to fight the 145-pound champion. There’s a lot of expectations around this fight. There’s no problem — it’s not about seeing who’s more Brazilian or who’s more patriotic, it’s about continuing to make history.
While she wouldn’t be the first UFC fighter to accomplish the two-belt feat, Nunes suggests because Cyborg has been unbeaten for over a decade, and the state of the women’s UFC divisions, she may be able to become a part of the Greatest of All Time conversation with a win.
“I believe that going up a weight class already is a big achievement because several athletes are not willing to face that type of challenge,” she said. “Going up and proving to myself I can do it and make history already is a big achievement. What Daniel and Conor did were great achievements, no matter if it was [against] a dominant champion or not. Fighting in a heavier weight class is a big achievement on its own. But when someone is so dominant, it does have a different taste, of course.
[To be the greatest women’s fighter of all time is] the reason why I made this decision to move up a division. I want fans to remember me like that. Winning on December 29, I won’t ever leave fans’ heads, that’s for sure. Achieving that, being the only Brazilian woman to become two-division champion…The only woman, the only Brazilian, will be a huge achievement. It’s a big fight, a fight that will make history, and I will come out victorious one more time.
Original Story: MMA Fighting