UFC champion Amanda Nunes changes her tune about moving up after a certain knockout artist leaves equation
Back in summer 2016, UFC women's bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes had no interest in moving up to 140 lbs.
At that time the UFC were struggling to find opponents for their newest superstar Cristiane 'Cyborg' Justino. The Brazilian had just won her promotional debut via first round knockout after singing for the UFC as Invicta featherweight champion.
Nunes had just starched Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to claim the title when she did a fan Q&A for UFC 201 alongside then-lightweight king Eddie Alvarez. At that time she had her sights set on the returning Ronda Rousey and cited Julianna Pena and a rematch against Valentina Shevchenko as two other fights on her radar.
When asked if she would consider moving up to fight Cyborg in a catchweight 140 lbs contest, Nunes quickly shot down the possibility of a superfight. Her reasoning was simply that she was too small to move up.
“No, I’m 135 and I’m going to keep defending my belt in my division, because I’m little, I'm a little girl. I have to follow my division.”
Nunes got her wish and was tasked with the challenge of welcoming Rousey back to the world's largest MMA promotion at UFC 207. The fight didn't make it past the first round as the Brazilian put on a striking masterclass to overwhelm one of the biggest superstars the sport has ever seen.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) December 31, 2016
A new women's featherweight division will be introduced at UFC 208. However, Cyborg will not feature in the inaugural title fight after turning it down due to extreme weight-cutting issues. After failing an out-of-competition drug test, Justino also faces the possibility of a suspension meaning that she may not get the next crack at the belt either.
Instead, Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm will slug it out against Germaine de Randamie in the main event for the inaugural belt. "The Preacher's Daughter" will have an opportunity to make history by becoming the fourth fighter to win two belts in two separate divisions in the promotion, following in the footsteps of Randy Couture, BJ Penn and Conor McGregor.
With Nunes yet to be matched up against an opponent and no number-one contender in sight until after Pena and Shevchenko fight each other on January 28, Nunes wants to move up and claim a second belt. She has called out Dana White on Twitter asking the promotion to let her fight for the new title after a champion has been crowned.
— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) January 15, 2017
In the space of about 6 months, Nunes has gone from being too small for 140 lbs, to being more than willing to fight at 145 lbs. Only two things have changed since then, the potential opponent and the fact that there would be a belt on the line.