Nunes explains pivot from Cyborg to Pennington

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Not long ago, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes reached out to UFC president Dana White, and said she wanted a superfight vs. women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg Justino. After swatting Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222 earlier this month, Cyborg accepted.

“When you call Cyborg out, you have to handle it,” Cyborg explained.

Now Nunes fights Raquel Pennington at UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington on May 12, 2018, at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During a recent appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Nunes explained what changed.

“When I texted Dana White that I wanted the fight, I didn’t have nobody in my division,” said Nunes, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I didn’t even know if I was gonna fight soon. I was concerned with waiting years because I’ve been in that position before, waiting so long for a fight, I don’t want to do it again and stay waiting, waiting, waiting.

“But now, we have Rocky [Pennington] and we have the Brazilian, Ketlen [Vieira] and I feel like my division is starting to grow. If you pay attention, the division’s gonna be awesome and now I have two. I have Rocky and I have Ketlen. Rocky is my next step and I want to see Ketlen after, for sure.”

UFC 222 also saw Vieira beat Cat Zingano, the last woman to beat Nunes, a compelling argument for a title shot.

“I think she’s deserving, after this fight against Rocky,” said Nunes. “She beat the girl that beat me. I think she’s ready and I’m excited to fight her.”

So the superfight is now delayed by two fights, or in MMA time, tonever.

“There’s gonna be a lot of things involved in that,” said Nunes. “Having the contract for her, for me, it has to make sense for both of us so we can do this. It’s nothing personal against Cyborg. When you become a professional fighter, you want to become the best, you want to beat the best.

“It’s nothing personal but I feel like there’s a lot of things involved in that and I don’t want to wait for that. I want to keep fighting, I don’t want to wait to negotiate. Right now my division has a new contender and I’m excited for that. Whatever happens after that, we’ll see.”