Assuming a person can truly be judged by the company they keep, Amanda Nunes qualifies as a seriously bad-ass mixed martial arts competitor. So much so, in fact, that her peers rate her ahead of the likes of Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier in an important respect.
Amanda Nunes is on a hot streak entering UFC 250
Amanda Nunes, who is headlining UFC 250, is the only female fighter in the history of the organization to hold two division championships concurrently. She captured the bantamweight title in July 2016 and then the featherweight crown in December 2018 by knocking out Cris Cyborg in 51 seconds.
Nunes, nicknamed “The Lioness,” has successfully defended the bantamweight title five times, beginning with crushing Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. UFC 250 in Las Vegas marks her first defense of the featherweight belt as she takes on Felicia Spencer in the headline event on the card.
She enters the title defense against Spencer on a 10-bout winning streak, which is a record for women in the UFC, and a 19-4 career record. Two other statistics stand out as reasons why Nunes, 32, must be respected as an all-time great in the sport:
- Saturday marks the fifth time that Nunes, who hasn’t lost since September 2014, is headlining a UFC pay-per-view card. That’s an indication of the organization’s respect for her talent.
- Nunes has beaten six opponents who held UFC championships at various times. Jon Jones is the only other fighter who can say the same.
Determining the toughest of the toughest
The Athletic conducted a survey of MMA competitors this week in which they solicited responses to a number of questions related to the sport, not a bad idea considering that UFC 250 represents a nice, round number.
One of the queries was the age-old question that comes up frequently in boxing discussions: Who is the best pound-for-pound fighter today? The first three names on the list of responses qualify as no-brainers: Jon Jones, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Demetrious Johnson.
Jones, of course, is a human wrecking machine in the light heavyweight division of the UFC. His only loss in 27 career fights came via disqualification. And although he is an eternal headache outside the octagon for UFC boss Dana White, Jones is all business when he’s fighting.
If he stays with UFC and moves up a weight class as previously discussed, there will be a lot of heavyweights who won’t take the call offering them the fight.
Nurmagomedov is 28-0 and the reigning UFC lightweight champion. His fourth-round submission of Conor McGregor in October 2018 convinced the final holdouts that Nurmagomedov is legitimately great. At just 31 years old, he still has some prime years left.
Johnson gets overlooked by some because he left the UFC after losing his rematch to Henry Cejudo (fourth on the pound-for-pound list) in August 2018. But he made 11 defenses of the flyweight title in 57 months before finally losing.
Amanda Nunes makes the cut
Amanda Nunes checks in at No. 5 on the list of best pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts, according to the survey by The Athletic. Getting that kind of respect from one’s peers – ahead of Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier — is impressive considering that the men’s divisions tend to get more attention in the sport.
However, it is hard to argue with placing Nunes that high. Thirteen of her 19 victories have come by knockout. Three others have been via submission.
Throw out two grueling decisions over Valentina Shevchenko, who checks in at No. 6 on the list, and Nunes has put away 10 of her last 11 opponents by knockout or submission.
Don’t be late for the start of an Amanda Nunes fight. You might miss it entirely.