Nunes Weighs Move to US, Praises Florian’s ‘Miracle’ Performance

By Colin Foster Jun 15, 2011
Standout featherweight Diego Nunes had a convincing performance against Kenny Florian at UFC 131, nearly spoiling the two-time UFC lightweight title challenger’s 145-pound debut. However, Florian’s maturity and big-fight experience turned the battle in his favor, allowing him to take a unanimous decision after three rounds.

Three days after the fight, back home in Rio de Janeiro, Nunes made no excuses for the loss, but revealed that he was surprised by Florian’s fitness, even after cutting down to 145 pounds for the first time.

“People dismissed him, saying he was going to run out of energy, but he didn’t,” Nunes told “He surprised me with how in-shape and well-prepared he was. He dictated the pace for the whole fight. I didn’t see him tired, even after the knockdowns.”

In the wake of the event, many have questioned whether Florian deserves the next shot at featherweight king Jose Aldo, Nunes’ teammate at Nova Uniao. After their duel, Florian has a supporter in “The Gun.”

“I started to understand many things after that fight; that sacrifice he made when no one believed. He made a miracle, made it happen, entered the Octagon and won the fight,” explained Nunes. “It’s not just anyone who can drop that much weight. I believe it will be a great fight against Aldo. They have opposite styles, but Aldo saw what he has to do to win, and with his heavy hands, he can knock Florian out.”

On his own side, the 28-year-old Nunes is still reflecting on what he did wrong to lose a fight in which he won the first round. Nunes seemed to be in control after five minutes, but lamented that the blood he lost in the second round courtesy of Florian’s vicious elbows might have turned the tide.

“I didn’t expect to get tired that way. After the fight, when I was watching it at home, I saw how much blood I lost with those elbows,” said Nunes. “At the end of the second round, I got really dizzy, and when I sat on the stool, I thought, ‘Man, where is my power? I’m really dizzy.’ I went back for the last round with only heart.”

It’s an old adage that athletes learn more from a loss than a victory. Perhaps that can be applied to Nunes, who after leaving Rio Grande do Sul to join Nova Uniao just over a year ago, is now considering a move to the United States.

“Many things changed inside of me. I’m more mature now,” Nunes said. “I traveled back to Brazil thinking of changing my training, moving to the U.S., where I can find better conditions in life and work. I want to get more conditioned in all aspects of the fight, and, like it or not, Americans have greater structures and facilities to do that. I want to make a great investment in my career and take advantage of my age and my moment in the UFC.

“I’ve received some proposals to teach and give seminars outside of Brazil. I don’t live in a good place in Rio de Janeiro, and I’m fighting to change my life, my family’s life, to move from where I live,” he continued. “I will talk straight with ‘Dede’ [Andre Pederneiras, Nova Uniao leader] to see if I can represent Nova Uniao in the U.S.. We’re a family here.”
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