Amanda Nunes, the consensus women’s MMA GOAT. UFC 250 was just the latest example of how good a fighter she is. A dominant five-round victory was put in with ease by the Lioness against Felicia Spencer.
Now, it is often frustrating to ask ‘what’s next?’ straight away after a fighter has just competed but when they are as dominant as Nunes, we have to ask it. 20-4, riding an 11 fight winning streak, simply put, no one is on Nunes’ level. Her last eight bouts have been title bouts, she’s beaten every former UFC bantamweight or featherweight champion and became the first fighter in UFC history to defend two belts in separate weight divisions. With almost no featherweight division and a shallow bantamweight division, we look ahead to what may be next for the GOAT.
Although her UFC 250 bout against Spencer was at featherweight, Nunes’ natural weight is certainly 135lbs. Having beaten Meisha Tate at UFC 200, Nunes has dominated the bantamweight division. She holds wins over Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, Raquel Pennington, Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie since capturing the belt. Here begs the question, who is next?
We had a clear contender in Ketlen Vieira, who was 10-0, 4-0 in the UFC. But then she ran into the clear contender, Irene Aldana. 12-5 in her professional career, Aldana is 5-1 in her last six bouts, only losing a split decision to Pennington. Her latest fight came against Vieira at UFC 245, where she scored a truly brutal knockout.
Currently ranked #5, Aldana is the clear contender. Nunes has beaten the #1,#2 and #5 women, all in dominant fashion. The #3 contender, Aspen Ladd could have fought for the title, however, she lost to de Randamie in her first main event. Although she did win her return fight, she’s booked for the June 27th card. It does appear that she may be injured and withdrawn from this bout, however, only time will tell.
Aspen Ladd has suffered a torn ACL and MCL is out of next weekend’s fight against Sara McMann, sources say. She’ll find out on Tuesday if the injury requires surgery. If so, she’ll be out approximately nine months. UFC seeking replacement. First reported by @MMAjunkieJohn.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 20, 2020
The UFC have put a spanner in the works, however, as they have booked Aldana vs Holm in the main event of the August 1st card. Don’t be surprised if the winner of this one faces Nunes next.
The most unlikely challenger would be Julianna Pena. Standing at an impressive 9-3, Pena has lost just once inside the UFC. This lone loss came in a main event against Valentina Shevchenko in 2017. Having taken a hiatus to have a child, Pena returned, ending up victorious against Nicco Montano. Although she was scheduled to face Ladd in March of this year, this never came to fruition. If the Ultimate Fighter winner, Pena can put two or three more wins together, we very well could see her challenge for the title in the future.
Simply put, Amanda Nunes is the featherweight division. As per the UFC rankings, Nunes is the only fighter in the entire division. The only potential contender is Megan Anderson, who is 2-3 in the UFC. Her wins have come against Cat Zingano (in a weird, toe to the eye finish), Zarah Fairn and Norma Dumont. This is highly unlikely to happen and Anderson needs at least another win at featherweight to cement herself as a contender. She has losses to both Holly Holm and Felicia Spencer (who Amanda Nunes has beaten) so she needs to prove herself at a high level.
It is frustrating when MMA/Boxing stars look to cross over. Despite this, Amanda Nunes vs Clarissa Sheilds could be a brilliant fight to make. The MMA GOAT vs the boxing GOAT. The two-time Olympic champion is 10-0 in her professional career and a three-division champion. It appears that she is the only woman on the planet that could stand with Amanda Nunes.
Will this one happen? Simply put, no. Sheilds is not a big enough name (unlike say…Mayweather) and therefore it won’t generate the numbers that the UFC requires for its biggest female star. It’s a shame because it would certainly be a war.
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