Amanda Nunes Wanted to Use Jiu-Jitsu to Finish Megan Anderson at UFC 259

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 7, 2021

Amanda Nunes wasn’t expected to have much difficulty against Megan Anderson in the UFC 259 co-main event, and she lived up to those expectations.

About the only suspense in Nunes’ featherweight title defense was how she was going to finish her Australian challenger. The Brazilian two-division champion rocked Anderson with a pair of overhand rights early, and it appeared that a knockdout was inevitable. However, after stuffing a takedown, Nunes ultimately relented on her assault of punches and hammerfists on the canvas to transition to a nifty triangle armbar to elicit the tapout 2:03 into Round 1.

According to Nunes, that was all part of the plan.

“For every opponent, I have a strategy,” Nunes said. “I cannot go in the cage without strategies A, B and C, because you don’t know if something is going to go wrong. You have to be ready, so for Megan I wanted to finish her, I didn’t want to knock her out. I paced myself. I saw she was done already but I wanted to finish the fight on the floor with my jiu-jitsu.

“Actually we train a lot and in training, every time I took my training partner down that move was there,” she continued. “Every time. Over and over. For some reason tonight I had the opportunity to finish her with that move that I used all the time in training. It was cool.”

Generally regarded as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time, Nunes has won 12 consecutive fights in the UFC. Though Saturday’s outcome seemed like a foregone conclusion to most observers, that didn’t make it any less special for Nunes, who found added motivation after becoming a mother for the first time last year.

After briefly mentioning retirement in 2020, Nunes struck a different tone with her post-fight comments on Saturday.

“I feel like this is the moment that I wanted for so long. I worked hard for this moment. I’m hungry. I always go to the gym to get better and better. I chose this to be my job, I love to do this,” Nunes said. “Every time that I think about it, it’s driving me forward and motivating me. Whatever happens next, I’m going to be here to defend. It’s not something that I’m going to go away. I have two belts. I have to come back and defend them and I’ll be very happy to do it.”

At the moment, Nunes appears to have no clear challenger at either featherweight or bantamweight. Regardless, “Lioness” is ready to take on whoever the UFC throws at her.

“I like the challenge. In my life, I was always like that, challenging myself every time,” she said. “If you don’t want a challenge, you’re in the wrong sport. I picked MMA for a reason. I’m here, I’m a champion and I’m defending these belts. I’m going to be here for a long time.”

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