Amanda Nunes’s biggest career defeat came on the heels of one of her worst training camps.
The former two-division UFC women’s champion recently opened up about the troubles she experienced in the lead-up to her massive upset loss to Julianna Peña back at UFC 269 in December 2021.
Nunes (21-5 MMA, 14-2 UFC), who lost the UFC women’s bantamweight title that night in Las Vegas, said she was badly injured heading into her sixth title defense and that she was even advised to pull out of the fight.
“A lot of things went wrong in my camp and I still moved forward with the camp,” Nunes told ESPN. “I didn’t want to let the fight fall through. Nina (Nunes) was always trying to tell me like, ‘Listen, if we have to pull out of this fight to get 100 percent, we can do that.’ But I didn’t want to listen.”
Nunes was adamant about staying in the fight, as she had previously withdrawn due to testing positive for COVID-19 from the original booking against Peña, which was scheduled for August at UFC 265. She didn’t want to see an interim belt in the division and felt pressured to carry on with the fight.
“I let the fight fall through once because I had COVID and I didn’t want to let the fight fall through again,” Nunes said. “So that pressure to like not fight once again and the UFC put an interim belt and that was giving me a hard time to let that fight go. So I don’t think it would’ve been right for me to let an interim belt be put out there. So because of that, I decided to fight. But a lot of things went wrong, and I had a rough time training. Sometimes we make mistakes and I paid for that. It is what it is. Sometimes you get things wrong.”
Nunes revealed she was injured and the nature of the injury didn’t allow her to train her cardio the way she usually prepared.
“My both knees were pretty bad,” Nunes said. “I sprained that I won’t be able to recover. I was in and out of the doctor doing a lot of repair to see if I was able to at least get a good solid camp, and I wasn’t. I was doing whatever was possible to get in the camp, using only my arms and doing only upper body. … I convinced myself that I was good, and I paid.”
Nunes has the opportunity to right the wrong. She returns this Saturday in a rematch against Peña for the women’s bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 277 in Dallas, Texas. Nunes vows to get back what was once hers.
“I want to be a champion again, this is driving me forward,” Nunes said. “And I’m a fighter, I cannot do anything else. I have to keep positive, and I have to keep moving forward in my career. This opportunity is to get my belt back, and I’m not letting anything doubt me. Actually, losing the belt fired me up again.”