Amanda Nunes Announces Retirement After Dominant Performance

Amanda Nunes Announces Retirement After Dominant Performance

Amanda Nunes, widely regarded as the greatest women’s fighter of all time, announced her retirement from UFC on Saturday after one of her most dominant performances in years. Nunes laid her two championship belts on the Octagon mat, had the cutman remove her gloves, and put them in the middle of the two titles. She kneeled down and cried into the canvas. Nunes beat Irene Aldana via unanimous decision in the main event of the pay-per-view card, a comprehensive performance in which Nunes won just about every minute. With the win, Nunes defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title. She is also the UFC women’s featherweight champion.

Retirement

Nunes announced that she will vacate both belts in retirement. Aldana was a fill-in opponent. Former champion Julianna Peña was supposed to have a trilogy fight against Nunes on Saturday, but after breaking her ribs, she was forced to withdraw. Nunes said that she knew as soon as she signed the bout agreement to fight Aldana that it would be the final fight of her career. Nunes said that she plans on taking a long break and heading back to her native Brazil for a time. She has been dealing with nerve damage in both legs, an issue that reoccurs every time she fights. Nunes came into the news conference Saturday night with crutches, a typical postfight scene. After that time off, Nunes said she’ll get back to her South Florida gym, Lioness Studio, and become a coach. She said she loves the sport too much to disappear.

Legacy

Nunes said that she hopes to be remembered as the greatest of all time. “I did everything. I broke a lot of records.” Nunes has the most wins in UFC women’s history (16); the most UFC title fight wins among women in history (11); and the most finishes in UFC women’s history (10). The longtime Florida resident has beaten every other competitor who has held the UFC women’s featherweight and bantamweight titles, including Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, and Holly Holm. She also owns two wins over former UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, another all-time great.

UFC president Dana White said he “wasn’t shocked” that Nunes decided to retire, because of how much money she has made and how much her life has changed over the past 10 years. “This must be what Amanda wants,” White said in the postfight news conference. “I’m definitely happy for her. Would I like to see her stick around and do some more? Absolutely. I love the kid. She’s been incredible to work with. She’s been such a good human being and great champion.”

White added that the UFC women’s featherweight title and division, which lacks any kind of depth, would “probably” be retired with Nunes’ departure. Nunes outlanded Aldana 142-41 in significant strikes. That was the most significant strikes Nunes has ever landed in a UFC fight, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Peña, Nunes’ heated rival, took a shot at Nunes on Twitter, first congratulating her, but then questioning why she retired before completing their trilogy fight. Nunes laughed it off and said if Peña were her opponent, she would not have retired Saturday. “I was supposed to beat her tonight again,” Nunes said. “If it was Julianna Peña tonight, I wouldn’t retire. I wanted to fight somebody I never fought before and then retire.” Ultimately, Nunes said she could not have been happier with the way it all played out. She was asked in the news conference about her favorite moment, but couldn’t narrow it down to one. “The kick [knockout] against Holly Holm was a good one, too,” Nunes said. “The fight against Ronda Rousey. The Cyborg fight. Tonight was amazing. So many. I’m just very happy and grateful. And it ended exactly how I wanted.”

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