Amanda Nunes: Under The Radar
Despite destroying two legends of the sport in Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey in consecutive fights in 2016, Amanda Nunes still I feel goes largely under the radar.
Nunes ripped the women’s bantamweight title from Tate at UFC 200 then as Joe Rogan famously said “Lit Rousey up like a Xmas tree at UFC 207, both wins were inside a round, the Rousey victory inside a minute. Despite those impressive wins Nunes hasn’t had the push from the UFC she deserves.
The promotion for UFC 207 was all centred around the returning Rousey, Nunes despite being the champion, was seen as having no more than a cameo role in the proceedings, Nunes as we now know, upset the script big time.
Having to pull out of a scheduled defence against Valentina Shevchenko on the morning of the fight set her back in the eyes of some and a split decision win over Shevchenko in the rescheduled bout at UFC 215 in September last year failed to excite the masses.
The fight with Shevchenko was absorbing I felt, but Nunes perhaps worried about gassing out as she did in her first fight with her opponent, fought a more cautious fight, a smarter fight against a supremely talented challenger.
Nunes gets another chance tonight at UFC 224 against Raquel Pennington in her native Brazil. Pennington despite the long odds will give her a tougher fight than most think, although I would be surprised if Nunes isn’t still the champion come Sunday morning.
To gain the respect she feels she deserves and isn’t yet there, Nunes might have to move to featherweight and challenge the fearsome Cris Cyborg.
At 29 Nunes is at her peak and is on a 6 fight win streak, but she needs a bigger challenge which probably the current crop of bantamweight’s can’t offer her, a challenge that Cyborg also so badly needs.