The women’s G.O.A.T is back once again to defend one of her two UFC titles at UFC 259 as Amanda Nunes steps into the octagon to take on Megan Anderson.
The Brazilian last fought back at UFC 250 in June 2020, where she demolished Felicia Spencer to a unanimous decision win. It was her first defence of her 145lbs title since winning the belt from Cris Cyborg way back in 2018, with a lack of contenders available for her crown.
She remained active, defending her bantamweight title twice by KO’ing Holly Holm and then dominating against Germaine De Randamie after that too.
There isn’t a featherweight rankings in the company, since the division was essentially made just for Cyborg. When she got beaten by Nunes, she had just one more fight in the company before leaving for Bellator when her contract expired. The division now sits idle, with the odd challenger surfacing to take on Nunes after an impressive win or two.
In the bantamweight division, Nunes has categorically cleared it out. She’s defeated every single former women’s champion in UFC history in her two weight-classes plus defeating flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko twice before also.
While the division has started to move on and there are some contenders appearing towards the top end of the rankings, when matched up in comparison to Nunes none of them seem quite worthy enough. Every fight seems a one-way car crash for the challenger and it gets harder and harder to see how the champion can remain motivated.
She recently became a mother, with her partner Nina Ansaroff giving birth in September and Nunes has previously toyed with the thought of retirement to look after her new daughter after achieving everything there is to succeed.
Nunes is the only fighter in history to defend both of her titles as a double champion in the UFC and she continues to train hard and keep pushing to make history. But realistically, a win over Anderson puts her at a true crossroads in her career.
Anderson is a legitimate featherweight who has to cut weight to make the 145lbs limit, so poses a much realer threat than Spencer did to the title. But the expectation is still that Nunes gets a comfortable victory, with fans, analysts and with the bookmakers – ‘The Lioness’ is a huge 1/10 favourite in some places.
If she gets the win that many expect her to, what could possibly be next?
There’s the potential that she hangs around and goes back down to bantamweight to take on the likes of Aspen Ladd, Irene Aldana, Yana Kunitskaya and Juliana Pena to prove once and for all that she is the best of her generation and better than the next too.
But is dropping weight again for the first time since 2019 appealing to a woman who has nothing to prove to anyone. She’s already the benchmark for women’s MMA and will go down as the consensus greatest of all time, with a hall-of-fame CV largely beaten by stoppages.
When everything gets taken into consideration, the most likely option is that Nunes lays her gloves down after this fight.
A win means she goes out on top of the game with nobody questioning anything. The new daughter is a big factor in her life and decisions going forward, so by retiring at the top she can look after her child while her partner Ansaroff continues to try and realise her own dream of becoming the strawweight champion.
UFC 259 is due to be the biggest card of the year by a country mile, but it could also mark the end of one of the greatest careers in mixed martial arts history.