Amanda Nunes Defended Her Title For a Third Time at UFC 224 But Now She Faces A Massive Problem… 

What do you do with Amanda Nunes? On paper, she seems to be the perfect champion. She’s a very entertaining fighter. Unlike many Brazilian fighters, she has a reasonable command of English. She’s also a great role model for gay rights which you’d think an organization as cynical as the UFC would have tried to capitalize on.

Oddly enough though they haven’t. Alarm bells should have begun to ring for Nunes in the run-up to her fight against Ronda Rousey. She was totally written off by fans and the company but proceeded to smash ‘Rowdy’ in under a minute. That still didn’t make her a star.

Now after beating Raquel Pennington in front of her home crowd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nunes faces a massive problem. She’s cleared out the division. There’s no meaningful opponent left for her at bantamweight. The only exciting fight for her right now is a nightmare match-up against the seemingly invincible Cris Cyborg.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Win Streak

Nunes is currently riding a seven-fight win streak. She’s effectively retired both Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. ‘The Lioness’ totally outclassed Sara McCann and Raquel Pennington. She’s also beaten arguably the technically most skilled female fighter in the world – Valentine Shevchenko – not once, but twice.

This leaves her with a conundrum. Who else does she fight in the bantamweight rankings? Ketlen Viera is the only name that jumps out but let’s be real here: nobody cares. She can fight her, sell a handful of pay-per-views and still be ignored by UFC fans. Demetrious Johnson has found out the hard way that win streaks aren’t enough to win you fans.

Cris Cyborg V Holly Holm. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez – USA TODAY Sports

Cyborg Challenge

No, the only fight she can take right now is against the mighty Cris Cyborg. She’s the woman Michael Bisping refused to spar with out of fear that she’d embarrass him on the mats. She’s unbeaten since 2005, after losing her first ever MMA fight. Since then she’s been unbeaten in 21 consecutive fights. Nobody has put her in trouble. Nobody.

The only challenge Cyborg has faced in the UFC was Holly Holm. Even then, the word challenge is a bit of an exaggeration. Holm demonstrated remarkable toughness, and landed shots, but didn’t have the power to trouble Justino.

Cyborg has the same problem in that there’s nobody in her division to trouble her. She’s been dropping not-so-subtle hints that she’s going to fight out her contract and move to professional boxing. A fight against Nunes could be the one that finally makes fans excited.

Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports


Nunes is much smaller than Cyborg – like every woman on this planet. She’s also had cardio problems in the past, although she does seem to have sorted them out in recent fights. However, Cyborg is a different challenge. She is built differently to other women. Nobody likes getting hit by her.

‘The Lioness’ would have to knock her out. Can anyone do that to someone who doesn’t even seem human? If she did then that would make her the greatest female fighter on the planet right now. However, more likely is that she’ll succumb to TKO by strikes like 17 other Cris Cyborg victims. It’s a no-win situation.

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