We throw around superlatives an awful lot inside the combat sports bubble, so much so that phrases like Greatest of all Time can become blunted and superficial. If ever there was a fighter worthy of that kind of parlance, though, it’s Amanda Nunes.
At 18-4, she’s the greatest female fighter in MMA history. There’s just no debating it.
Let’s take a quick walk down Memory Lane—though it’s probably more deserving of a name like Carnage Crescent or Bloodshed Boulevard in Nunes’ case.
After a fairly unspectacular run on the Brazilian regional scene and in the Strikeforce and Invicta cages, she migrated to the UFC in 2013. In her first two fights with the promotion, she finished Sheila Gaff and Germaine de Randamie. After a disappointing loss to Cat Zingano in her third UFC bout, she then set off on the most impressive streak of any woman in the history of the sport.
She sprinted toward the bantamweight title with impressive wins over Shayna Baszler, Sara McMann, and future flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. She won the bantamweight title with a hellacious beatdown of Miesha Tate. She defended it with a merciless, 48-second execution of Ronda Rousey, then a second decision defeat of Shevchenko and a TKO of her close friend Raquel Pennington. By that point, she was already a frontrunner in the GOAT debate, but she was not content to rest on her laurels.
Instead, Nunes hiked up to featherweight to battle the division’s seemingly unbeatable champion, Cris Cyborg—perhaps the most feared woman in the history of fighting—and shut her lights out in less time than it takes to warm up leftovers in the microwave. Then it was back down to bantamweight for another effortless title defense opposite the former champ.
At this point, there’s not a woman alive that will enter the cage with Amanda Nunes as anything less than a significant underdog—not unless they’re allowed to do so armed with a sword or a hand grenade.
In de Randamie, however, Nunes will meet the most legitimate threat available.
Yes, the champ has defeated the Dutchwoman before. Yet in the years since their first meeting, de Randamie, now 9-3, has made nearly as many improvements as Nunes has. She even briefly reigned as the UFC featherweight champion until she was stripped for inactivity.
The real x-factor in this matchup, though, is that the former kickboxer de Randamie is probably a better striker than Nunes, at least on a technical level, and probably the champion’s equal in terms of power. That power was on full display when she snuffed Aspen Ladd in her last fight.
Can de Randamie deliver a shocking upset with a knockout of Nunes? The oddsmakers will tell you it’s unlikely, but it’s certainly possible.