On the 6th of July, fight fans were treated to an excellent fight card at UFC 239. The main event saw Jon “Bones” Jones continue his reign in the light heavyweight division. However, the co-main event had more implications for MMA as a whole, specifically women’s MMA.
Amanda Nunes defeated Holly Holm via TKO (head kick and punches) at the 4:10 mark of the first round of their fight. With that win, she retained the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Her professional MMA record stands at 18-4, and she is currently on a nine-fight win streak. And right about this time, it seems appropriate to make a case for her being the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) in women’s MMA.
Changing of the Guard
It was a mere four years ago when another female star was entering the GOAT conversation. Ronda Rousey was the star. She was on an absolute tear in the women’s bantamweight division. She was 12-0 and seemed completely unbeatable.
But at UFC 193 in November of 2015, she would go onto suffer a KO (head kick and punches) loss to Holm for the title. Holm then lost the title in her next fight to one Miesha Tate via technical submission (rear-naked choke). And in Tate’s next fight she lost to Nunes via submission (rear-naked choke). And that’s how we got to Nunes holding the bantamweight title. If it all sounds very poetic, it is!
Nunes, who is known by her nickname “Lioness”, went to work after capturing the bantamweight title. In her first title defense she squared off against a returning Rousey at UFC 207 in December of 2016.
Rousey was fighting for the first time since her defeat at the hands of Holm. Wasting no time at all, Nunes defeated Rousey at the 0:48 mark in the first-round of their fight via TKO (punches). Taking out Rousey was the first step in solidifying her legacy.
To be the greatest you have to beat the greatest! Nunes then fought Valentina Shevchenko a prolific kick boxer and top fighter. She won that fight via split decision. She followed that victory up with another victory against Raquel Pennington, winning via TKO (elbows and punches).
But the most impressive victory came next against a highly feared competitor in Cris Cyborg.
In this bout Nunes moved up to featherweight to compete for the title, and a chance to become a double-champ. Cyborg was a feared competitor, and was 20-1 at the time. Her only professional loss was her first fight; thus, she was technically on a 19-fight win streak.
Again Nunes never backed down and finished the fight with a KO (punch) victory at the 0:51 mark of the first-round, thus becoming the UFC women’s featherweight and bantamweight champ, and first woman to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions! Tate, Rousey, Shevchenko, and Cyborg; now that’s a solid resume of victories right there!
Clearing Out the Division
After Nunes’ fight with Cyborg we find ourselves in the present, as her next fight was the aforementioned one with Holm. She defeated Holm with a head kick in poetic fashion, the same way Holm defeated Rousey. But this time around it felt different. Nunes was not an underdog trying to knock off a juggernaut. She was a “champ-champ” defending one of her two titles.
And as UFC commentator Joe Rogan eloquently stated during the post-fight octagon interview, Nunes “kind of cleared out the division.” Now there may be some up-and-coming female fighters that could prove to be competition for Nunes down the road. But as it stands currently, she has beaten all the best female fighters in the world, and she now sits at the top as the undisputed best of the best!