Is Amanda Nunes the best female UFC fighter of all time? You can make a case for a few others, like Ronda Rousey, but when it comes to pound-for-pound fighting, our money is on Nunes. We will look at the Brazilian athlete’s early career, monumental victories, and how her popularity has grown in a women’s division that was dominated by two names.
Early introduction into MMA
Before getting into MMA, Nunes grew up in the small town of Salvador in Brazil. She started learning karate at the age of four and began boxing at 16. Then, the young athlete learned Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and started to pursue a career in MMA fighting.
Nunes trained in New Jersey at the AMA Fight Club before moving to Miami, Florida. She made her pro debut on March 8, 2008, submitting to an armbar against Ana Maria.
After winning her five previous fights, Nunes made her Strikeforce debut in 2011 against Canadian Julia Budd. The match ended very quickly as she won by a knockout in only 14 seconds. This was the type of publicity Nunes needed for experts and fans to take her seriously in the sport.
After a successful career with Strikeforce, Nunes set her sights on the UFC women’s bantamweight division. On August 3, 2013, she made her debut for the company in her home country of Brazil, defeating Sheila Gaff via a first-round TKO.
Nunes went on to have memorable matches against Shayna Baszler, Sara McMann and Cat Zingano. After winning three consecutive matches, the Brazilian fighter received her first UFC title opportunity against Miesha Tate at UFC 200. Nunes triumphed in a decidedly easy fashion, stunning the champion with punches and knee-strikes, before winning by a submission near the end of the first round.
Facing the baddest woman on the planet
By the time her second title defense came around, Nunes was the dominant woman in the sport. She went up against Ronda Rousey, the face of women’s MMA. Rousey already had a chink in her armor after losing the title to Holly Holm, and this match wasn’t much of a contest. Nunes won by TKO in 48 seconds. The loss put an exclamation point on Rousey’s MMA career.
Taking her popularity to another level
After a few more successful defenses, Nunes faced Holly Holm. Although Holm was known for her kicking ability, she couldn’t do anything against her opponent. Nunes predicted she would win after connecting with a head kick, and she did just that, earning a first-round TKO victory. With wins over Rousey, Holm, and Tate, Nunes clearly stakes her claim as the best women’s fighter in UFC history.
Amanda Nunes in the 2019 ESPN Body Issue
With her resounding win over Holm, Nunes received the opportunity to appear the 2019 ESPN Body Issue. Always one of the most successful annual issues for the company, the coverage only grew Nunes’ popularity.
Who could she fight next?
There has been a lot of buildup for a rematch between Nunes and Cris Cyborg. Fans view the first match between these fighters as an MMA classic, which Nunes won via knockout. If the two athletes could enter the Octagon again, it could be another UFC classic. Nunes’ current career record is 18-4.