UFC president Dana White believes that Amanda Nunes will still be considered the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time regardless of the outcome at this weekend’s UFC 277 event in Dallas, Texas.
Nunes was submitted by Julianna Pena at UFC 269 in December last year and lost the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship after a five-year reign at the top of the division. She’ll now face Pena in a rematch this Saturday night at the UFC 277 PPV event set to stream exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Nunes noted her poor performance was due to a disrupted training camp that involved an injury.
“I made a mistake. A huge mistake,” Nunes explained.
“A lot of things went wrong in my camp, and I still moved forward in the camp. I didn’t want to let the fight fall through. Nina was trying to tell me like, ‘Listen, if we have to pull out of this fight to get 100 percent, we can do that.’ But I wasn’t listening to her. I wanted to fight.”
Pena’s submission victory against Nunes shocked fans around the world. The long-reigning and usually dominant champion had been beaten in a way that virtually no one predicted. Nunes had thrown her best shots at Pena, but the challenger walked through them and eventually exhausted the champion before submitting her with a rear-naked choke.
And if the same thing happens this weekend, Dana White says it won’t change a thing about Nunes’ legacy.
“It doesn’t change the fact that Amanda Nunes is the GOAT,” White said to Robbie Fox. “That’s her legacy. She’ll go down as the GOAT.”
As for Julianna Pena, the new bantamweight champion, White believes she’s on already on a pathway to creating her legacy.
“Julianna winning on Saturday solidifies her with fans, fighters, and media, that the first one wasn’t a fluke. And then she’ll be on her own journey and create her own legacy after this. Just look at how many times Volkanovski had to fight Holloway.”
The UFC president also recalls the first time he ever met Pena, and unsurprisingly, Pena’s impressive self-belief and confidence were on full display that day too.
“The day I met her, my kids were little, they were doing a jiu-jitsu tournament at some gym here in Las Vegas. She walked right into the gym, rolled up to me, put her hand out, and said, ‘I’m Julianna Pena, I’ll be your women’s world champion someday.’ That was the day I met her. I love people who think like that and people who have that kind of drive and manifest that kind of stuff to happen. Not only did she do that, but she also won The Ultimate Fighter.
“Every time Julianna shows up, you better have done your shit because she’s showing up to fight.”
Watch Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes fight
- Date: Saturday, July 30
- Time: PPV Main Card starts at 10 pm ET, Prelims start at 6 pm ET
ESPN+ PPV (order here)
UFC 277 is a PPV event, meaning fans must order UFC 277 on the ESPN+ website to watch every main card fight live, including the Pena vs. Nunes rematch. After ordering, fans can stream every UFC 277 fight to a preferred device, including TVs, mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets, and more.
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.