This past Saturday at UFC 297, a new women’s bantamweight champion was crowned. Amanda Nunes (23-5) was in attendance as Raquel Pennington (16-8) and Mayra Bueno Silva (10-3-1, 1 NC) battled it out for the vacant bantamweight championship.
Last June in Vancouver, Nunes defended her title in dominant fashion against Irene Aldana. With the win, Nunes moved to 11-1 in title fights between bantamweight and featherweight. Following the win, Nunes laid down her two titles and announced that she was walking away to spend time with her family.
With that, the titles became vacant and we saw a new champion crowned on Saturday night. Nunes wanted to be in attendance to watch the fight. While it wasn’t the most exciting fight in the world, Pennington was able to win a convincing decision over Bueno Silva to become the champion.
It was truly a feel-good moment for Pennington who has been around for a very long time and enjoyed her ups and downs throughout her career. While she became UFC champion, I couldn’t help but think about the skill gap that still exists between the new champion and the former champion, Nunes.
Nunes had to be sitting there and thinking about being so much better than what we were watching. Turns out, she was thinking along those lines and even told ESPN that she might be open for a UFC return.
Return of the UFC’s GOAT?
Amanda Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time. If you think of the greatest female fighters of all time, Nunes has defeated them all. First round knockouts over Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey. She also has two decision wins over another all time great in former flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.
Her only loss during her reign was to Julianna Pena and when they ran the fight back, Nunes completely ran her over during a five-round beat down. It was so one-sided that it really made the first fight look like a complete fluke.
Nunes told ESPN that she feels like a champion and she could see her self returning. She simply said, “We’ll see” when asked about a potential return. I’ll tell you this, the only person who would be excited about Nunes returning is Julianna Pena. Pena has been desperately wanting the third fight with Nunes to settle their score once and for all.
The rest of the bantamweight division would be in total fear if Nunes decided to make a return. This isn’t like the lightweight division moving on after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired. The gap between Nunes and the top bantamweights right now is literally the size of Mount Everest.
I’m not convinced Nunes will return, but should she decide to do it, I would fully expect her to regain the UFC bantamweight championship.