Coming off of her recent bout at UFC 232 on Saturday, December 29th, 2018 with Cris Cyborg. Nunes won in a knockout 51 seconds into the first round of the match in Los Angeles and took home the featherweight title. This means that Nunes’ Bantamweight Championship Belt has to share the shelf with her newly acquired Featherweight Championship Belt. Making the Brazillian fighter the first and only female MMA fighter to hold two UFC Championship Belts simultaneously and one of only three fighters in the history of the UFC with this distinction (Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier being the other two).

”There are no words to describe this moment,” Nunes wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone that has believed in me since day one. Thank you to Cris for sharing the octagon with me, she is a true legend. Thank you to my family, my fiancee, coaches, training partners, friends and of course [UFC head] Dana White.” 

Nunes is currently engaged with fellow fighter, Nina Ansaroff who competes in the Strawweight division and is one of the first ever openly gay UFC champions. She never really “came out” as she simply was confident with herself and answered openly and honestly when a reporter asked her if she was gay. In a previous interview with USA Today, she remarked…

I was focused on being the champion and nothing else mattered. But after I made it there, that I made my dreams happen, then come the things I can do to help. I became champion, but I have other duties, other ways in which I can help others. It wasn’t my intention to make an impact. When a reporter asked me if I was gay I answered naturally, because to me it was always natural and I never hid it from anyone. I didn’t know it would take such proportions, that it would become this big. Even that time I gave Nina a kiss, in my last fight, it was all the talk. I was like, ‘Wow,’ I didn’t know it would be this big. But it was spontaneous, very natural.“

When Amanda first began training, she was the only woman in a gym full of men and trained with men. An experience which Nunes credits with helping her push the limits of her own strength and stamina. After meeting her fiancé Nina at the gym, her perception of women as competition began to change more toward seeing women as allies.

“It was shocking to me at first, because I didn’t think I was going to find a woman as tough as I was. Who could handle the level of training I could, training with men, like I did, and going toe-to-toe. So when I started training with Nina, our first sparring session, the first thing I observed was ‘This girl has a future.’ To me, it was shocking, I wasn’t used to it. Because I had had the opportunity of putting together a training session for a girl and she gave up halfway through. So when I met Nina, I was really surprised. Then I opened my mind to this other side. Now I train with women, they’re part of my training. Nina as well, but I train with other girls. I train with girls who are still amateurs, who help me out greatly. For my preparation for Miesha Tate, I trained with a girl who was still an amateur, she helped me out a lot. We called her Miranda Tate, and then Miranda Rousey.

I opened my mind. It was hard at first to adjust, because I was afraid of going too rough and hurting them. But there are so many tough girls. And I was so happy. Because even making friends, having girl friends, is so great. When I met Nina, it was a friendship that evolved into a relationship. But she was my friend and training partner first. Now we’re a big group of girls and it’s so much fun. And I keep thinking, if there were all these women before, it would have been perfect. I’ve always been explosive, and I think training with men fueled that. I had to explode to train with them, I had to be at my limit at the time in order to get anything done with them. Now I can train with men, but I do different training with women. I think of the technique, of the strategy. It’s not as rough, it’s more refined, nowadays training with women is extremely helpful.“

By Dirk Smith