GOAT: After UFC 289, Amanda Nunes retires at the greatest of all time with no debate

Jun 10, 2023; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Amanda Nunes celebrates her victory by decision against Irene Aldana following UFC 289 at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC 289, the women’s bantamweight title was on the line. Two-division champion Amanda Nunes (23-5) returned to the octagon as she took on a tough challenge in Irene Aldana (14-7).

While Aldana was still considered a decent sized underdog heading into the fight, many believed she could give Nunes a lot of problems. People have called into question Nunes’ motivation in the last couple of years, and Aldana had attributes that made her a tough matchup.

She’s a big bantamweight who has very crisp boxing. In addition to just having crisp boxing, she packs a lot of power. If this fight stayed on the feet, things were supposed to be very interesting. However, in terms of compelling storylines, the fight was anything but interesting.

From the opening bell to the final bell, this was vintage Amanda Nunes. Aldana looked like a deer staring into headlights as Nunes proceeded to pick her apart over the course of five rounds. Nunes was landing more than Aldana was even throwing. In the end, it was another dominant decision win for Nunes. After the fight, she laid down her gloves and both her UFC titles and retired.

Can anyone in the UFC catch Nunes?

It’s very rare that we see someone retire on top in MMA. Normally we see our legends and heroes go out on their swords usually way beyond their prime. The retirements become more sad than anything else. However, this is not one of those cases.

Nunes is retiring at 35 and is clearly the greatest female fighter in UFC and MMA history. Things weren’t always great for the Lioness inside the octagon. Early in her career, she lost to Cat Zingano which made her 9-4 in her professional career.

By the looks of her overall record, you know what happened next. Nunes won her next 12 fights inside the octagon before a shocking upset loss to Julianna Pena in December 2021. When the two ran things back in July of last year, Nunes had one of her most dominant title defenses in her tenure completely smashing Pena over the course of five rounds.

Nunes took one more fight with Aldana which she won and goes out having gone 13-1 in her final 14 UFC bouts. However, it’s the competition she faced that really shows how great she is. Just take a look at her resume:

  • Valentina Shevchenko (Twice)
  • Cris Cyborg
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Holly Holm
  • Germaine De Randamie (Twice)
  • Miesha Tate
  • Julianna Pena

Outside of Alexa Grasso and Nico Montano, Amanda Nunes fought and defeated every UFC fighter who held a title between 125 and 145 pounds. She knocked out Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey in under a minute. She defeated Valentina Shevchenko twice.

The one person who dethroned her in the UFC after she became champion, she immediately smashed in the rematch. Worth noting that Nunes dominated the first round against Pena in their first fight before gassing out and getting submitted in the second round.

There’s no debate and honestly, I don’t see a path to anyone catching her as the greatest of all time.