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Amanda Nunes of Brazil poses for a post fight portrait backstage during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
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Amanda Nunes | Forever The G.O.A.T.

Double Champ Retires With A Storybook Career For The Ages

Seated on the dais behind her two championship belts, Amanda Nunes was beaming.

An hour and change earlier, “The Lioness” had successfully defended her bantamweight title against Irene Aldana and announced her retirement from mixed martial arts, and now, after a post-fight celebration in the Octagon with her family and members of her corner, she was ready to talk about it.

She explained that she didn’t tell anyone that Saturday’s bout with Aldana at UFC 289 was going to be her swan song because if she had, Nunes knew it would be the only thing anyone wanted to ask her about or discuss in regards to the fight, and that’s not what she wanted.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates her victory over Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women's bantamweight title fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates her victory over Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women's bantamweight title fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

She’s right, of course.

Had Nunes said, “Yes, this is going to be the last one” when I asked her on Monday during what had become our customary pre-fight conversation if she was going to retire on Saturday night, I would have continued peppering her with questions about her decision, her career, her future for as long as she’d have let me, because how could you not?

Amanda Lourenço Nunes is the greatest female fighter to ever compete in mixed martial arts.

Amanda Nunes Post-Fight Interview | UFC 289
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Amanda Nunes Post-Fight Interview | UFC 289
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She’s one of the greatest fighters to compete inside the Octagon, full stop — a two-division world champion and the first to successfully defend both titles simultaneously; the owner of innumerable records, many of which are going to be very difficult to break — and she’s exiting the sport on her own terms, at the top of the game, which is something very few get to experience.

When she edged out Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196 to become the No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division, it didn’t feel like the start of something seismic. In fact, seated on press row inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, it felt like she was fortunate it was a three-round fight, as Shevchenko won the final round on all three scorecards and appeared to have momentum on her side.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil announces her retirement after her victory over Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women's bantamweight title fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil announces her retirement after her victory over Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women's bantamweight title fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

But that victory elevated Nunes into a championship opportunity against Miesha Tate, who won the title in dramatic fashion later that same evening. The duo ultimately landed as the main event of UFC 200 and for the first time, Nunes flashed the ferociousness that would largely define her dual title reigns.

She blew through Tate, claiming the title with a first-round submission win before defeating the returning Ronda Rousey in just 48 seconds to close out the year at UFC 207. A five-round rematch with Shevchenko followed, with Nunes squeaking out a split decision victory.

Bonus Résumé | Amanda Nunes
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Bonus Résumé | Amanda Nunes
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After battering Raquel Pennington in Brazil at UFC 224, Nunes ventured up a division to dispatch Cris Cyborg and claim the featherweight title, finishing her feared countrywoman in 51 seconds to become the first and only female two-division champion. She followed that up by stopping Holly Holm six months later, beat Germaine de Randamie five months after that, and added Felicia Spencer to her list of vanquished challengers six months hence, becoming the first “Double Champ” to defend both their titles simultaneously in the process.

Her final successful featherweight title defense came against Megan Anderson, and after losing the bantamweight strap to Julianna Pena in stunning fashion at UFC 269, a refocused Nunes won it back seven months later.

By toppling Pena, the Brazilian standout could once again lay claim to one of the most incredible achievements anyone has managed inside the Octagon, as Nunes has beaten each and every woman to ever hold both the bantamweight and featherweight titles.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil punches Cris Cyborg of Brazil in their women's featherweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil punches Cris Cyborg of Brazil in their women's featherweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC)

Every single one of them, no skips, with two wins over the long-reigning flyweight champion mixed in there for good measure.

No wonder she was beaming and no wonder she is walking away — there is nothing more left for her to accomplish.

Nunes ends her career with an incredible 16-2 record inside the Octagon, an 11-1 mark in championship fights, and a 23-5 record overall.

Amanda Nunes Octagon Interview | UFC 289
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Amanda Nunes Octagon Interview | UFC 289
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The young girl that left her native Brazil in order to chase her dreams made them all come true, and now, at 35, she’s ready to welcome her second child with her wife Nina and transition into the next phase of life.

Could she stick around, face Pena one more time in order to officially settle that rivalry? Sure, but Nunes considered that rivalry settled when she rebounded from her stunning loss at UFC 269 by dominating Pena for just about every second of their rematch at UFC 277.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil (left) reacts to her victory over Ronda Rousey (right) in their UFC women's bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 207 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa Getty Images)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil (left) reacts to her victory over Ronda Rousey (right) in their UFC women's bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 207 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

She did the same to Aldana on Saturday night in Vancouver, displaying all the facets of her game and showing that she’s still levels ahead of the competition in the 135-pound weight class by making a worthy challenger look out of place inside the Octagon.

This isn’t a fading champion calling it quits before getting overtaken or hanging on too long because the desire to compete still lingers — this is the best female fighter on the planet choosing to walk away, having done everything she set out to do and more, and not a single soul she begrudge her for doing so.

Amanda Nunes Post-Fight Press Conference | UFC 289
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Amanda Nunes Post-Fight Press Conference | UFC 289
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At the end of our call on Monday, I told Nunes that I would see her the following day in Vancouver — that after all these years of speaking before her fights, we were finally going to get to meet in person.

When she walked into the compact room where the UFC digital team was filming interviews on Tuesday, she looked to her right, saw me, and lit up.

“Hey! Nice to finally meet you!” she said as I stood to shake her hand.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates with her daughter after her victory over Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women's bantamweight title fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates with her daughter after her victory over Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women's bantamweight title fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

She dispatched my formal attempt at a greeting and brought it in for the real thing because our connecting in real life was long overdue. The team told me I had to conduct her interview, since speaking with Amanda Nunes before her fights is kind of my thing, and when I asked her if it was going to be “And Still” at the end of Saturday night, she smiled and quickly said, “And Still Forever.”

As she danced in the Octagon with her daughter Raegan on Saturday night, I tweeted out that it was special to be in attendance for her last appearance, explaining how frequently we’d spoken in the past seven years, how gracious and giving she’d always been with her time, and how watching her walk away in person was a memory I won’t ever forget.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates after defeating Holly Holm in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 239 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 7 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates after defeating Holly Holm in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 239 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 7 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Standing in the bowels of Rogers Arena at the end of the evening, Nunes finished taking pictures with the smattering of fans that still lingered at the service entrance, carefully navigating the slope to the shuttle on crutches.

She made her way over to the pack of public relations personnel huddled and waiting for their ride back to the hotel.

She started saying “Thank you” to everyone and handing out hugs, appreciative of their efforts, their assistance, and the relationships they’d built over the years.

Amanda Nunes

“It was nice to finally meet you,” she said as we embraced.

“Congrats on everything,” I replied. “We’ll talk again.”

When we do — and I’m sure we will — it won’t be before a fight, as that chapter of her life is now over.

And Still Forever.

Thank you, Amanda.

UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana took place live from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada on June 10, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass