Amanda Nunes admits she contemplated retirement after upset loss to Julianna Peña
Nunes (22-5 MMA, 15-2 UFC) lost her bantamweight title to Peña (11-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) by submission in December 2021 in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in the promotion’s history.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the UFC dual champion, who admitted she thought about retirement in the immediate aftermath.
“I was very confused,” Nunes told ESPN. “Losing my belt was crazy. But at the same time, I know I was sad. Something was wrong. Something wasn’t right. And that’s why it looked, like, not real for me. And then when actually I saw Din (Thomas), right in the arena outside, and I gave him a hug, I looked at him and I said, ‘I think I’m done.’ And we looked at each other, and he looked: ‘Are you sure? OK, call me later. Talk to me later.’”
But Nunes said it didn’t take long for her to snap out of that thought – especially when thinking whom she lost the belt to.
“I drove back home, and I was putting my thoughts together, – everything: what I went through, going through that camp, everything that I was upset about – and I was sad too, a couple moments in the camp,” Nunes said.
“When I put everything together and me and (my wife) Nina were talking, I said, ‘I cannot leave my belt with Julianna. It can be (anybody) else but her. I cannot leave my belt with that girl. She’s not deserving of that belt. She didn’t do anything to really deserve to hold that belt.’”
Nunes regained the title from Peña in their rematch at UFC 277 with a lopsided decision win. The pair was booked for a trilogy bout at UFC 289 on June 10 in Vancouver, but Peña was replaced by Irene Aldana (14-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) after she pulled out due to broken ribs.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 289.