UFC champion Amanda Nunes explains why she decided not to retire: “I couldn’t leave my belt with Julianna”

By Cole Shelton - June 8, 2023

Amanda Nunes has explained why she opted against retirement after losing to Julianna Pena back at UFC 269.

Julianna Pena, Amanda Nunes, UFC 277

Nunes entered the fight as a sizeable betting favorite and had a solid first round. However, in the second round, Pena began to land big shots and it appeared the Brazilian was starting to fade. ‘The Lioness’ was later submitted that very same round.

After the loss, many wondered if Nunes would retire, and she admits she did ponder the idea. However, after taking some time to think about it, she realized she couldn’t leave the sport with Pena as the champion.

“I decided to not retire, because if I retire, I leave my belt with Julianna. No way, no way. It can be with somebody else, but with Julianna, no. I know I could kick her ass any time I want. She was supposed to win that day, I was supposed to make the mistakes that I made to fight without being in great shape, and I paid for it, and I’m never going to do that again. Ever, ever, ever,” Nunes said at UFC 289 media day.

RELATED: Pro fighters make their picks for Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana.

Although Nunes is fine losing, she says losing to Julianna Pena really bugged her as she doesn’t think Pena is a good fighter.

“She’s not that good, she’s not that good. That was harder to swallow. She’s crazy,” Nunes added. “She goes forward and punches, and just being tough, and she has the belt. She can get hit. No. No way. I knew I’m going to go back there and get that belt again.”

With Amanda Nunes knowing she could beat Julianna Pena; she opted not to retire and got an immediate rematch. The Brazilian made the most of the second fight, as she dominated Pena for a full five rounds to win a clear-cut decision and become the UFC bantamweight champ once again.

Nunes and Pena were then booked to have a trilogy at UFC 289. However, the challenger suffered an injury and was forced out of the bout. Replacing Pena this weekend is Irene Aldana and should Nunes win, perhaps the trilogy with Pena could happen next time out.


Amanda Nunes Julianna Pena UFC