Dana White plans for Nunes-centered featherweight division, but is it too late?

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 01: (L-R) Guido Cannetti of Argentina touches gloves with Hugo Viana of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 190 event inside HSBC Arena on August 1, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

I’m in a moment that I can retire…and a moment that I can fight…There’s nothing else to be done in the right now in the division”

With those words, the Queen of MMA Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes casually dropped a bombshell that could put an end to the UFC’s Womens’ Featherweight division. 

We already knew that the rest of 2020 was going to look a little different for the history-making fighter, as a certain major new arrival will change her and fiancée Nina Ansaroff’s lives forever. But we weren’t expecting her to seriously consider walking away permanently from the Octagon. However, like she so bluntly put it in an interview for Brazialin TV show Esporte Espactacular, the undisputed Women’s Featherweight and Bantamweight Champion of the World has “achieved everything I wanted.” 

The dominant force in Women’s MMA 

Nunes (20-4) has done what very few fighters are able to do and blazed her way through two competitive weight divisions, making small work of the world of WMMA’s best exponents. Olympic judokas and the “greatest strikers on the planet” have all fallen by the wayside in a confrontation with the Lioness, and she’s won one of the belts she holds five times over. 

After amassing a three-fight winning streak in the bantamweight division in 2015, Nunes was granted a chance to challenge the then UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate in July 2016. It was a short fight. Nunes came out in dominant style and locked in a RNC in the first round that put Tate to sleep and the belt around her waist. 

But that fight would look like a marathon when compared to her title defence. In December 2016, the Lioness obliterated MMA superstar Ronda Rousey, knocking her out just 48 seconds into the first round. 

Having cleaned out the entire Bantamweight division, Nunes moved up a weight class to take on the seemingly undefeated Cris Cyborg in December 2018 for the UFC Women’s Featherweight title. It would be another short fight – 51 seconds in total – and with that KO, Nunes became the first female fighter in the UFC’s history to hold two different championship belts. 

Outgrappling and outstriking Germain de Randamie and Holly Holm in Bantamweight title defences, Nunes is currently riding an eleven-fight winning streak that culminated with yet another history-making fight at UFC 250. 

On Saturday WHEN, Amanda Nunes became the first fighter in the entire history of the promotion, male or female, to successfully defend and hold titles in two different weight classes. During the main event of UFC 250, she treated us to a masterclass in fighting as she completely dominated Felicia Spencer in every way, and after the best 25 minutes of MMA we’ve seen so far this year she gained a unanimous decision victory and successfully defended her featherweight belt. 

And Nunes’ victory over Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 didn’t just place her in the record books for being the only fighter in the promotion to successfully defend two different titles, she also pulled in the largest ever bet laid down in the sport of MMA. UFC fights have been one of the most popular markets offered by sports betting platforms and bookmakers since the dissolution of PASPA back in 2018, but Nick Bodanovich’s $800,000 wager on Nunes to win was the largest the sport has ever seen.

She truly has done everything and is confident that “The Hall of Fame will come, for sure”, but right now Nunes wants to focus on moving her life outside the Octagon forward. 

“Amanda Nunes is the GOAT”

High praise indeed from the UFC president, but that’s exactly what Dana White thinks of this exceptional fighter — “Amanda, she’s the queen of ’35 and ’45 (pounds)”. Should she retire right now however, it could spell the end of the women’s featherweight division in the promotion. 

In an interview with MMAJunkie, White explained that he had “literally just told the guys…to build that division up…start signing girls, start building the division” around Nunes. 

And even though he agrees that she could retire right now if she wanted and not suffer any major losses, he’s still eager to “get on the same page” as her to figure it all out. After all, she only needs to add three more title defences to her already substantial total of eight, and Amanda Nunes will tie with Anderson Silva on the all-time list.