Just over a year ago, Amanda Nunes was talking about a run at a third title. Having captured the women’s featherweight championship just weeks prior, Nunes (19-4) told ESPN Brazil that a drop to 125lbs was possible. It would just take a bit of time.
Of course, at flyweight waits Valentina Shevchenko, a fighter Nunes has defeated twice in her UFC career — albeit in closely contested affairs. After their second fight, which ended in a split decision at UFC 215 in 2017, there was talk of finishing the trilogy. However, Shevchenko then made a run at the flyweight belt, and has been a dominant champion ever since.
Nunes as a triple champ, adding a flyweight belt to her bantamweight and featherweight titles, has a certain allure. “The Lioness” is already considered the greatest female fighter of all time. The UFC has never had a triple champ. It’s an easy sell.
At the UFC 250 media day on Thursday, however, Nunes walked back the idea. “I wish, but losing weight sucks,” she told media outlets including Cageside Press. “If I go down to 125, for me, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have so much to lose if I go down. I prefer to stay here. 135, 145 for me works pretty well.”
Nunes has always had a tough cut to 135lbs, though she has never missed weight. She’s clearly come to believe that 125lbs would be more trouble than it’s worth.
In the meantime, “The Lioness” has the first title defense of her featherweight reign ahead of her. Canada’s Felicia Spencer, a former Invicta FC featherweight champ, will challenge her Saturday at UFC 250.
Spencer is 2-1 in the UFC, but in a weird way, is almost better known for the loss than for her wins. That’s because she became one of the few fighters to ever go the distance with Cris Cyborg. It’s a bout Nunes has watched in preparation for their title fight on Saturday.
“For sure, I had a breakdown on her. Especially with that fight against Cris [Cyborg],” she said. And Nunes believes she knows what to expect from the Canadian. “I know she’s going to try to clinch, I know she’s going to try to push me against the cage. But I’m ready. I have a very good strategy for her, and I’m going to be ready for everything she’s going to bring Saturday.”
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).