Amanda Nunes acknowledges that she gave retirement serious thought right after Julianna Pena defeated her for the bantamweight championship.
She having lost her 12-fight, six-year unbeaten record, and after reigning as a simultaneous two-division UFC champion, there was little doubt that she had nothing more to show. In reality, Nunes had defeated each and every female bantamweight or featherweight champion in the history of the UFC.
Nunes suddenly changed her mind as a terrible realisation hit her like a pail of cold water.
“I decided to not retire, because if I retire, I leave my belt with Julianna,” Nunes said during UFC 289 media day. “No way. No way. It can be with somebody else, but with Julianna, no.”
Nunes' defeat in 2021 was very painful for her because she believed in her heart of hearts that she was far superior to Pena. The UFC title was lost to her due to what was considered one of her poorest performances in her career.
It took Nunes some time to realise that everything went wrong for her that night, and it seemed as though everything was set up for Pena to win.
“I know I could kick her ass any time I want,” Nunes said. “She was supposed to win that day, I was supposed to make the mistakes that I made to fight without being in great shape, and I paid for it, and I’m never going to do that again. Ever, ever, ever.
“I was confused a little bit, but I got my foot in the floor, I got home, and everything was ready to go. My mindset was ready to get the belt back and never lose again.”
Nunes proved her point with a lopsided unanimous decision over Pena in a rematch, again making her the UFC bantamweight champ.