Felicia Spencer is unquestionably heading into the biggest fight of her career this weekend, against UFC double-champ Amanda Nunes at UFC 250. The women’s featherweight belt will be on the line, and should Canada’s Spencer pull off the upset, she’ll be among some esteemed company as UFC champion.
While Canada has produced plenty of UFC fighters, only a small number have worn gold. Carlos Newton. Georges St. Pierre.
Speaking at the UFC 250 virtual media day on Thursday, Spencer (8-1) told Cageside Press that the comparisons to fighters of that caliber are “kind of crazy.”
“I’ve been telling everyone, people keep putting me in the same sentence as GSP this week and it’s pretty awesome,” said Spencer, who resides in Florida and holds dual citizenship. “I’ll kind of bathe in that glory after I get the belt, I have a job to do first, but the idea of being in that great company and being able to hold hold the belt up and have a whole nation stand behind me is is pretty awesome.”
Everything, right down to the UFC 250 poster, with Amanda Nunes representing Brazil and Spencer sporting Canada’s red and white, seems geared to tug at some national pride. So while Spencer says this is another fight to her — “it’s always any other fight, I always have someone standing in front of me I need to take out” — the chance to represent her country of birth does have its allure.
“Even though we both live in Florida [Nunes trains at American Top Team in Coconut Creek], and I am a dual citizen, it’s like the Canadian people are really down behind me and I’m so proud to be a part of,” she told us.
Of course, Spencer is entering a title fight in unprecedented times. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths from COVID-19. It has seen social distancing enter the vernacular, and become an every day part of life. The end result, for many fighters, has been gym closures, or at least limits to training partners. Spencer is no different.
“Definitely a big change” is how she put it. “Normally I spend a lot of hours at the gym, but a lot of it is teaching or we’re doing group classes and doing the slow drilling.” This time around, explained Spencer, things “switched right away.”
In the end, she had two training partners to work with the prepare for Amanda Nunes. And, she went on to say, “we had a very serious agreement [and] discussion about being responsible with ourselves outside of the hour we spent together every day, just following protocols and trusting each other to do that. Because we’re now at the time where it’s kind of almost like risky behavior to have contact with a human.”
Yet here she is, with just a weigh-in between Spencer and her shot at UFC gold. Of course, Nunes, who has been on an incredible run these past few years, will be no easy task. Many have tried: Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Germaine de Randamie, Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes has proven to be a step above the best.
As to what separates “The FeeNom” Felicia Spencer from the rest of the pack, she told Cageside Press that the key was being herself.
“I’m me. I’m just different. Every fighter feels different in the cage, of course, but I think I just have a different background, a different skill set, a different pressure, different grind, and I’m super motivated to take this belt home,” Spencer stated. “I’m hard to take out. She’s hard to take out. I am confident in being able to finish but if I need to just win every round, that’s what I’m gonna need to do. And I’m ready to do that.”
UFC 250 takes place this Saturday, June 6, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card airs live on PPV following prelims on ESPN (TSN in Canada).