Some mixed martial artists kick the door in the second they hit the Octagon. Whether it’s attributed to promotion, a flashy style or a cult following, some stars just shine a bit brighter from the start.
Others get to the top with a slow burn that ultimately turns into a raging flame. And nobody embodies the blood, sweat and tears approach more than Amanda Nunes.
From an Invicta FC loss to her current status as the greatest of all-time, “The Lioness” made the trek to the top of the mountain without ever taking a shortcut.
Unfamiliar with Nunes’s credentials? Name a top-level fighter in the flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight divisions and ask when the Brazilian defeated her.
Nunes has made a decade out of lining up anybody in the division and knocking them out. But she isn’t just pulling off big knockouts against big names, as she has a finish rate that is unprecedented in MMA.
The women’s bantamweight division sits at a 43.1% finish rate. Nunes boasts a 72.7% finish rate when she wins.
According to FightMetric, Nunes has a higher finish rate than the heavyweight division with their 70.7%.
It doesn’t matter how hard you can throw when you’re fighting Nunes, if you can’t avoid the incoming fire, you’re going down. And almost nobody can.
It’s a feat in itself to claim a title; it’s another to be the absolute best in the world in two different weight classes. And it’s a whole other animal to be the gold standard in two different weight classes at the same time. Not many can handle the physical stress of taking out champions in two divisions, and not many can handle the mental stress of having everybody in each class gunning for you.
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Nunes has done it with childlike glee.
Nunes is only the third fighter in UFC history to claim two belts simultaneously and the first woman to do it, and with a successful title defense of her featherweight title, Nunes has a chance at being the second fighter in UFC history two simultaneously defend both belts.
The path to UFC bantamweight gold was again a long climb. Nunes had to go 5-1 with four finishes before getting her title shot. But after finally getting her shot, she didn’t let the opportunity get away from her. And from there, she’s just gotten better.
THE WHO’S WHO
Names aren’t everything, but part of Nunes’ greatness is that she has the most decorated resume of the decade.
Valentina Shevchenko, current flyweight champion: Two wins.
Germaine de Randamie, inaugural featherweight champion: First-round TKO.
Miesha Tate, former bantamweight champion: First-round submission.
Ronda Rousey, inaugural bantamweight champion and Olympic medalist: First-round TKO.
Sara McMann, Olympic medalist: First-round submission
Holly Holm, former bantamweight champion and three-division boxing world champion: First-round TKO.
Cris Cyborg, former featherweight champion: First-round KO.
There are no gimmes in the UFC. You want to be the best? You must fight the best. That’s just fine with Nunes.
After winning bantamweight gold, Amanda Nunes didn’t say, “If Ronda wants a shot at her title, she has to earn her way back to it.” She immediately called for Rousey. Immediately, as in five months after submitting Miesha Tate, she was out to prove to the world that she wasn’t the champion because she didn’t have to fight Rousey; she was the champion because she was the best fighter.
And after three bantamweight title defenses, Nunes took on the most feared woman in all of mixed martial arts, Cris Cyborg. Then Holly Holm, and on December 14 she will face de Randamie in a rematch.
So with victories over every powerhouse in a three weight class range, it’s impossible to argue Nunes’s Fighter of the Decade Resume.
Want to see for yourself? Check out the full video resume ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!