Amanda Nunes will never leave her UFC belt with Julianna Peña

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Amanda Nunes will never leave her UFC belt with Julianna Peña

UFC dual-division champion Amanda Nunes couldn’t believe it when she lost her bantamweight belt to Julianna Peña. It was enough of a blow to make her consider retirement.

But just like fans couldn’t believe that Peña defeated Nunes, considered one of the greatest fighters of all time, Nunes couldn’t live with the belt wrapped around Peña’s waist.

How Julianna Peña took the belt from Amanda Nunes

Peña survived a tough first round against Nunes at UFC 269 in December of 2011. She came back strong in the second frame, striking well and eventually submitting Nunes via a rear-naked choke. The MMA world was stunned. So was Nunes.

She was so upset by the loss that Nunes initially told friend and coach Din Thomas that she felt it was time to hang up the gloves and walk away. Luckily, Thomas told her to think on it and then they’d talk again when they each returned home to Florida.

By the time the Sunshine State was in view on the drive home, Nunes had shifted gears. Not only had she decided not to retire, she also decided to shift gears, forming her own training team, moving away from American Top Team. It wasn’t a dis on ATT or putting blame on anyone. It was Nunes putting herself in a new element. One that would make her uncomfortable. One that would re-ignite the fire of the lioness inside.

Amanda Nunes bucks retirement, couldn’t stomach Julianna Peña as champion

After all, Nunes just couldn’t stomach the fact that she would leave her belt with a lesser fighter, someone that she feels is not worthy of a UFC championship.

“I worked my whole life for that thing and to see it go away with somebody that I say, ‘No, I’m better.’ That was hard to see. To watch it after,” said Nunes.

“I decided not to retire because leaving my belt with Juliana, no way, no way, no way. Can be with somebody else, but with Juliana, no. And I know I can kick her ass anytime I want.”

Nunes has reasons why she lost to Peña, but she has never made excuses. She identified what went wrong and made the necessary changes to get her belt back.

Amanda Nunes got her belt back, determined to never lose again

In their rematch at UFC 277 in July of 2022, Nunes battered Peña, punishing her over the course of their five-round fight. Nunes walked away with a lopsided unanimous decision victory and the UFC bantamweight belt back around her waist, once again joining it with the featherweight title she also holds.

She followed the loss to Peña with determination. There was determination to get her belt back. Now there is determination to never go through that agony again.

“I was confused a little bit, but soon I got my feet on the floor. I got home and everything’s all ready to go. My mindset was ready to get the belt back and never lose again.”

Nunes and Peña were initially slated for a trilogy fight at UFC 289 this weekend, but Peña dropped out because of a rib injury. That led to a fight that many fans find more intriguing. That being Irene Aldana, who will challenge Nunes in the UFC 289 headliner on pay-per-view.

UFC 289 Live Results – Nunes vs Aldana

Amanda Nunes adamant that Julianna Peña not worthy of her UFC title

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Amanda Nunes eviscerates Julianna Peña

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Amanda Nunes will never leave her UFC belt with Julianna Peña