UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes is preparing to take on Julianna Pena at UFC 269, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t also got her eyes on the future. While the ‘Lioness’ is glad to be facing a new contender in the ‘Venezuelan Vixen’, it sounds like she’s hoping that the promotion won’t make her go through another rematch for her next outing.
Having already faced Valentina Shevchenko, Germaine de Randamie twice, and most top contenders at least once, the Brazilian doesn’t seem to see enough new names on the horizon. In fact, she would welcome it if the UFC started to look for women from different promotions to maintain the title picture fresh.
“I think we should go out of the mix.” Nunes told Esporte Espetacular. “Some girls have been fighting for a while now, they’re not even top 10 or top 5. They need to have their shots, too. I don’t pick opponents. If I have to fight Germaine, Holly or anyone, I will, but I think the fans want something new. You have to mix things up. Make some girls face each other, bring some girls who are the bottom of the division, so it doesn’t look so stale like it is.”
“I’m always ready to give the fans what they want.” Nunes continued. “A knockout or a submission, a high-paced fight. I think the UFC should shake things up in the division. Look for new talent and maybe bring more girls from other promotions. That’s what we’re waiting for.”
Now paired up against Pena for her sixth bantamweight title defense, Amanda believes she knows what to expect from the match. Although she has never faced Julianna before, Nunes claims to be following her fights since the challenger won her edition of The Ultimate Fighter, back in 2013.
“Julianna is an opponent I’ve known ever since the TUF days, which she won. I really know her style. She’s really close with Miesha Tate and they have the same of style of fighting, but I think Julianna is even more of a grinder. We used a little bit of my camp for Tate for this Julianna fight, but with a bit more precision.”
“I’m really looking forward to it, but at the same time I’m keeping my feet on the ground. I know everyone who walks into that cage will do their best to win. She has nothing to lose. I’m the champion and she’s going to come at me to take my belt. I just need to be really sharp so I can finish the fight at the right moment.”
Currently on a 12-fight winning streaks, Nunes (21-4) has defeated the most notable names in female MMA during this run, including Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Valentina Shevchenko and Cris Cyborg, among others. Most recently, the Lioness finished Megan Anderson by submission, back in March. The 34-year-old’s last loss happened in September 2014, when she got TKO’d by Cat Zingano.
UFC 269 is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight title fight between the champion, Charles Oliveira, and former interim title-holder Dustin Poirier. The women’s bantamweight title fight will take place in the co-main event slot. The card is also expected to feature the flyweight debut of former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt.