The term GOAT – as in greatest of all time – is affixed to athletes today all too easily without giving much thought to how they compare to the greats of previous eras.
However, in the case of female fighters in UFC, to call anyone else the greatest of all time would be to throw shade at Amanda Nunes.
Should anyone doubt that the Brazilian star is to women’s UFC what Muhammad Ali was to the boxing ring or what Tom Brady is to Super Bowl victories, all they need to do is check out her resume of accomplishments.
Nunes has carved out her place among the UFC elite. Whether considering current stars or all-time legends of the octagon, none have compiled the list of accomplishments she has assembled.
Currently, the reigning UFC world champion in both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, Nunes is the first woman to become a two-division UFC champion. She’s the third overall to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously, after Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier.
She is also the first and only fighter in UFC history to defend two titles while actively holding them. She is No. 1 in the UFC women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Nunes Takes Down All-Comers
En route to these one-of-a-kind achievements, Nunes has carved her path to the top through virtually every superstar on the female side of the UFC roster.
Her resume includes wins over six former or current UFC champions – Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Holly Holm, Germaine de Randamie (twice), and Cris Cyborg – almost all of them decisive verdicts.
Nunes scored a first-round TKO of Holm at UFC 239 via a combination of a head kick and punches. She recorded a knockout of champion Cyborg just 51 seconds into their world featherweight title bout at UFC 232.
At UFC 207, Nunes showered Rousey with punches and knocked her out at the 48-second mark of Round 1. Champion Tate submitted to a rear-naked chokehold at the 3:16 mark of the first round of their world bantamweight title bout at UFC 200.
In her first bout with de Randamie, Nunes recorded a first-round TKO. Shevchenko managed to get to the judges’ cards in both of her bouts against Nunes.
Nunes owns the most wins in UFC history (13) and longest winning streak in UFC history (11) amongst women competitors. Her eight victories in title bouts are also a mark among female fighters. She owns the most knockout (six) and stoppage (eight) victories in UFC women’s bantamweight history, as well as the most wins ever recorded in the division (12).
The UFC expressed its opinion of her accomplishments by invoking the picture is worth a thousand words analogy. The promotion posted on the UFC website a photograph of Nunes with her two belts, one draped over each shoulder. In each hand, she is holding a goat by the horns.
The Lioness as she’s known is 20-4 in her MMA career. Of those wins, 14 were by knockout and three via submission.
Nunes, 31, is next scheduled to fight at UFC 256 on Dec. 12, defending her featherweight title against Megan Anderson.
Endorsements Slow To Come
While she’s dominated inside the cage, Nunes has struggled to capture the fancy of the UFC faithful. She’s a person who tends to keep to herself. Nunes isn’t armed with a flamboyant or charismatic personality like McGregor or Rousey and that seems to work against her in terms of popularity and commercial success outside the octagon.
Not that she seems the least bit worried about her place in pop culture.
“I’m living my life and actually my life is the best right now,” Nunes told CBS Sports. “I can have whatever I want and I can do whatever I want.”
Nunes does have one major endorsement deal in place. She’s the face of Modelo Beer, a UFC sponsor.
“I feel like I’m not really one who wants to compete with Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, or whatever,” Nunes said. “I do my job and outside the cage, if it works out for me, I’m grateful and I’m going to do it. But it’s not something where I feel like I have to do this or get this TV show.
“If I’m not marketable, I’m not marketable and I’m just going to keep fighting. But I’m a fighter and I’m the best on the planet.”