UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has seen her share of high-profile bouts.
There was the victory over Miesha Tate to claim the 135-pound crown in the headliner of the promotion’s 200th card. There was a hard-fought split verdict against Valentina Shevchenko in the UFC 215 main event. And then, of course, there was the biggest of them all: a 48-second knockout of Ronda Rousey in the UFC 207 feature that announced Nunes’ presence to a legion of casual fans who previously thought that women’s MMA began and ended with the Olympic judoka.
Still, Nunes says that facing Cristiane Justino for the featherweight crown in the UFC 232 co-headliner is more significant than any other bout in her professional career. It will give “Lioness” the opportunity to become a simultaneous two-division champion, a feat matched only by Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier.
“Definitely is bigger than the Ronda Rousey fight,” Nunes said during a recent conference call. “A true champion has never happened before in the UFC. This is the first time. And for that reason, it makes this fight bigger than the Ronda Rousey fight. And am I prepared for this fight also, I’m healthy. I’m physically amazing, in the best shape that I’ve ever been before. And my mind is so like focused for this moment in my career and I’m very excited.”
Like the Rousey fight, Nunes is the less celebrated fighter, as “Cyborg” has earned much acclaim for her fearsome finishing ability. It’s nothing new to the bantamweight champion.
“I love a fight like that. I love to be the underdog,” she said. “I love to be the one nobody expects that I’m going to do anything, you know? This is a biggest thing for me. I like to fight in this kind of position, you know? I don’t have nothing to lose in this fight.”
Justino hasn’t lost a fight since 2005, and her 20-1 career mark includes 17 KO/TKO victories. While Nunes might be her most difficult test to date, “Cyborg” is nonetheless a clear favorite. Nunes believes her fellow Brazilian, like any fighter, still has a weakness.
“We all know Cris is very powerful. She’s strong we all know that. You know, let’s be honest here with each other. Of course, every single fighter has a [flaw],” Nunes said. “Everybody has a [flaw] you know? But sometimes people don’t know how to capitalize and do something about it in the fight. This is the thing. Of course, Cris have [weaknesses]. She’s a human, you know what I mean? She’s a human. She has [weaknesses]. And we’re training for every single mistake she has. And also we’re training for the good things she has as well.”