UFC 289: Amanda Nunes reveals one reason that could’ve prevented her retirement

Double-champion Amanda Nunes reveals one reason that could've prevented her from retiring at UFC 289.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 months ago
UFC 289: Amanda Nunes reveals one reason that could’ve prevented her retirement
Amanda Nunes celebrates her UFC 289 win. IMAGO | ZUMA

Saturday’s UFC 289 fight card at the Rogers Center in Vancouver was a historic night. Former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira set a record for the most number of finishes at 20. At the event, double-champ Amanda Nunes retired after defending her bantamweight title against Irene Aldana

But in a post-fight backstage interview with Megan Olivi, ‘The Lioness’ revealed one reason that could’ve prevented her from retiring. 

Nunes was supposed to face former champion and rival Julianna Peña for the third time at UFC 289. ‘The Venezuelan Vixen,’ however, had to pull off from the matchup because of an injury. 

According to the Brazilian champion, she wouldn’t have gone through her retirement plans if the opponent change didn’t happen. 

“If it was Julianna, I wouldn’t retire tonight. She’s not an opponent that I want to retire against. And I fought her before. I want to retire (against) somebody that I never fought before. 

“Tonight was a perfect night. And when everything changed for this fight, I looked at Nina, like, this is the time. This is meant to be. The right opponent, the right place, and tonight was the night to really go for good.” 

Nunes knew she would retire after UFC 289

Retirement was a main topic that followed Nunes around ahead of UFC 289. Former title challenger Anthony Smith was already looking forward to seeing Nunes fight her last bout and enjoy the fruits of her labor. 

“I don’t know, I just feel like she’s in a position where she can just, there’s so much — she has a whole lifetime ahead of her. And she’s done so much and, again, like, what else does she have to prove? At all? 

“I just almost look forward to her to be able to just go off and just do something else great. I know that sounds weird, [but] I mean that in a really positive way. I mean that in a really positive way.”

Nunes expressed a similar sentiment during her Octagon interview with Daniel Cormier, but as she told Megan Olivi, everything had been planned out during camp. 

“My whole training camp, everybody knew I’m gonna retire. This is my last one. The whole fight week, I tried to hide it, but you guys looked like you knew the whole time. 

“But I tried my best (to hide it) because I didn’t want to focus on that. I just wanted to focus on the fight, get the fight done, and then I announce it.” 

The women’s bantamweight title picture after UFC 289

From her end, Peña was unhappy about Nunes’ retirement announcement, as she felt there was unfinished business between them. And she made sure to let her frustration be known in a post-fight tweet. 

Around the same time, a potential opponent for the former champion emerged. 

Peña and Pennington were part of the cast of the 18th season of the Ultimate Fighter in 2013. The two women were both part of Miesha Tate’s team, who was a coach against rival Ronda Rousey.

Pennington (15-8) is currently on a five-fight win streak. She last saw action in January against Ketlen Vieira, whom she defeated via split decision. 

As for Peña (11-5), she hasn’t fought since her rematch with Nunes at UFC 277 last July, where she lost via unanimous decision, along with the undisputed women’s 135-pound title.  

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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