Sunday, June 10, 2018

May 2018 MMA Athlete of the Month: Amanda Nunes

Photo Credit: UFC

Long time women's MMA fans and supporters have been aware of Amanda Nunes for a very long time and knew she was capable of beating anyone on any night. But in August of 2013 she made her presence known to an even larger audience when she made her UFC debut with a first round stoppage of Sheila Gaff. Including that fight, Nunes has gone 10-1 in the UFC with her lone defeat being in late 2014 to Cat Zingano, a fight that Nunes came very very close to winning in round one.

It was July of 2016 where the world was made aware Nunes was possibly the best female in the sport. Nunes scored a dominant victory over bantamweight champion Miesha Tate to claim the title, beating her up and then getting the submission. The belt had been passed around a little before that, going from Ronda Rousey to Holly Holm to Tate and then to Nunes. But there as a sense that this would be the end of it being passed around for awhile, there was every reason to believe Nunes would hold that title. But first she had to defend it against former champ Rouse.

Photo Credit: UFC

Hardcore fans were quite sure Nunes would retain, while casual fans seemed to think Rousey could regain her title. Nunes removed all doubt, destroying her challenger and winning in just 48 seconds. The win was huge for Nunes because it was a huge audience that saw her dominant a former dominator. Now everyone had to take notice and know that Nunes was elite, she was possibly the best pound for pound in the sport.

From there she turned back the challenge of Valentina Shevchenko is a close good fight. Then came her title defense on May 12th against Raquel Pennington. The bout was the fourth straight main event for Nunes and expected a different kind of challenger than Nunes was used to. However, different challenger did not mean different result. Nunes was dominant from the opening bell using all her tools in not only winning but showing how very well-rounded she is. After round four it was clear Nunes would win, but would it be a decision or a stoppage. That question was answered when it went to the ground and Nunes landed repeated blows to get the win and remain champion.

Photo Credit: Unknown

What is next for Amanda? Several things have been mentioned including a super fight with featherweight title holder Cris Cyborg, but whatever it is that is next, Nunes has cemented herself as one of the top if not top women in the sport with no signs of that ending anytime soon.

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