Shortly after vanquishing Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 last June, Amanda Nunes raised eyebrows by mentioning the word “retirement.”
“I’m in a moment that I can retire, you know, and I’m in a moment that I can fight. I’m fine,” Nunes said. “There’s nothing else to be done right now in the division. The Hall of Fame will come, for sure. My life going forward, if I do stop now, the UFC will give me every support I need to continue having my money and work.”
As it turns out, Nunes never got too serious about calling it a career, and now the two-division champion will return to defend her featherweight crown against Megan Anderson at UFC 259 on Saturday. The 32-year-old Brazilian is rejuvenated after having a daughter with her fiancee, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff. Now, Raegan Ann Nunes provides all the motivation she needs.
“What is gonna keep me moving forward?…This time it’s different. This time I’m gonna be able to share with my daughter,” Nunes told TSN. “To see my hand raised March 6, it’s gonna be the first time she’s gonna be there, and so I want to dedicate it for her. It’s just a new moment in my life. I’m pretty excited, and it makes me very happy. … When I train happy, it’s one of the best camps that I’ve had. Raegan is bringing me that happiness that I can’t even explain to people sometimes.
“That is the motivator that I need to be happy to keep doing this thing,” she continued. “If you’re not happy sometimes, nothing works. You get frustrated. But If I wake up happy like she’s been making me happy, I’m good for the whole day. She’s with me all the time, so she makes me happy every second.”
So far, Nunes says that Raegan has been low maintenance, especially when she takes her daughter to the gym while she trains.
“My experience with Raegan is completely different than what a lot of people told me,” Nunes said. “She’s a very happy baby. I take her to the gym with me every day. She sits down. We put her in the car seat. She stays there, like we don’t even have a baby there. She’s a pretty good baby.”
As for Anderson, Nunes says she’s been using primarily male training partners to simulate the size of her 6-foot-tall opponent. The reigning champion is confident that she’ll have the speed advantage come Saturday night.
“I feel like I’m gonna be fast, and I don’t think she’s gonna be able to see when I’m gonna do something,” Nunes said. “I feel like sometimes being too big is not really a good advantage. I feel like I’m gonna be fast, and she’s not gonna be able to keep up.”
Retirement appears to have been placed on the backburner for Nunes, who seems intent on returning to 135 pounds after UFC 259.
“I’m pretty sure I’m gonna stay here for a while. I’m the champion, and I cannot pick opponents right now,” Nunes said. “Whoever is gonna line up to be the next, I’m gonna be there.”
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