It only made sense that a fighter as great as Amanda Nunes would walk away with two belts on her shoulders.
The UFC two-division champion retired from mixed martial arts following a one-sided rout of Irene Aldana in a women’s bantamweight title defense Saturday night. She won the UFC 289 main event in Vancouver via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-43).
“Tonight is the perfect night to retire and live happy forever,” Nunes, who also holds the UFC women’s featherweight belt, said in her postfight interview.
“My mom has been asking me (to retire) so much,” she added. “To do this for so long, she cannot take anymore.”
The Brazilian is the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history and one of the best of all time regardless of gender. She is one of four simultaneous two-division champions in UFC history alongside Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, and Henry Cejudo. With the victory over Aldana, she tied former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for the fourth-most wins in UFC title bouts (11).
Nunes faced virtually no adversity in her final MMA fight, controlling Aldana at all times and dishing out a heavy amount of offense. She landed precise jabs, powerful punches, kicks, and takedowns, leaving Aldana puzzled and helpless.
Nunes fought intelligently in the first two rounds, relying on her jab and staying composed. She found her range early and was much more active. Aldana was timid and reacted to Nunes’ movements, not offering much in the way of offense.
The defending champion poured it on more in the final three frames. She got Aldana down in the third to break the record for most takedowns in UFC women’s bantamweight history (28). She unsuccessfully attempted a rear-naked choke. Nunes finished the round by landing heavy shots.
Aldana got in a few shots in the fourth, and she defended takedown attempts, but Nunes tagged her with a huge elbow and once again had more volume.
Nunes then played it safe in the fifth, taking Aldana down in the first 30 seconds and staying on top for most of the round. She advanced to full mount and closed the fight by pummeling the challenger with heavy ground-and-pound shots.
Nunes ended her career riding a two-fight winning streak and having won 14 of her final 15 bouts. She lost the bantamweight title to Julianna Pena in stunning fashion in December 2021, getting submitted in the second round. But Nunes got revenge in her most recent fight before Saturday, dominating Pena in their rematch last July to begin her second reign as 135-pound queen.
“I come from a small city in Brazil … but I made it here,” Nunes said. ” I became a champion – the only champion that Brazil has right now. So Brazilian fighters, get your shit together, come get the belt, alright? I’m leaving.”
Aldana’s loss ended her two-fight winning streak. She stepped in on short notice when Pena withdrew from a scheduled trilogy bout after breaking her ribs.
Nunes defended the bantamweight title six times overall. She knocked out Cris Cyborg in 2018 to win the featherweight belt and become a two-division champion. She defended that belt twice, most recently in March 2021. Nunes, 35, retires with a 23-5 record.
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