Amanda Nunes thinks it’s time for Ronda Rousey to call it quits
Brazilian champion stops American challenger after just 48 seconds following a devastating four-punch combination in Las Vegas at UFC 207
Amanda Nunes delivered all the answers to Ronda Rousey while stopping her by technical knockout in 48 seconds, and when the subject turned afterward to Rousey’s fighting future, she was assertive again.
“That’s it for her. For sure, she’s going to retire,” Nunes said after the fight at T-Mobile Arena. “She can’t take anymore.”
Nunes (14-4) not only pelted Rousey with punches before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight as Rousey fell backward from a four-punch combination, the UFC bantamweight champion proceeded to confront Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan.
“He thinks she’s a boxer. He’s put that in her head. I don’t know why he did that,” Nunes said of the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist in judo who repeatedly submitted foes by first round armbars until trying to stand and strike against former pro boxing champion Holly Holm in a punishing November 2015 loss that preceded Nunes’ beating.
Watch: Amanda Nunes interview
“She had great judo. She could do more in this division, but [Tarverdyan’s] done this crazy [strategy] with boxing and it’s had her go down,” Nunes said.
An audio recording of Tarverdyan’s panicked instruction during the bout emerged by the following morning, casting more doubt over his future should Rousey decide to continue in the UFC.
“What she does [with Tarverdyan] is up to her,” UFC President Dana White said after meeting with Rousey for 40 minutes in her dressing room after the loss.
White characterised Rousey’s post-defeat mood as “down, but not as down as the Holm loss,” and he added, “I think [Rousey] will” return to fight.
Watch: Amanda Nunes interview
Rousey left the arena Friday night without speaking, but she issued a statement the following day to ESPN, which said, “Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year. However, sometimes – even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly – it doesn’t work how you planned. I take pride in seeing how far the women’s division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda.
“I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future.”
Rousey more closely resembled a shot fighter than the once-dominant first UFC female champion whose skills and personality convinced White to create a women’s division.
A video posted by AmandaNunes (@amanda_leoa) on Dec 31, 2016 at 9:21am PST
There remains a viable path for Rousey to remain fighting, considering the potential of Holm winning the newly created featherweight belt on February 11, and Rousey moving up to the more comfortable weight for a rematch – perhaps with a new trainer in the corner.
And should featherweight Cris “Cyborg” Justino avoid less than a yearlong suspension because of her recent positive test for a diuretic, she too could be intriguing.
White sought to soothe the effect of the destructive loss on Rousey’s reputation by heaping praise on Nunes, whose July first round stoppage of badly bloodied Miesha Tate via 40 punches and a chokehold submission paved Tate’s way to retirement.
“Miesha Tate told me, ‘[Nunes] hits so hard … there’s no way I would’ve tapped out in that fight, but I was so hurt by those hits,’” White said. “She retired Miesha.”
And Rousey? White thought about it and showed how unclear Rousey’s future is by replying, “Yeah, maybe.”
Nunes expressed pride in how her training in Florida alongside women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and other respected fighters has sparked improved striking.
“I know nobody can take my punches,” she said. “When I started connecting with punches, I knew she appreciated [my power]. I saw it from the first punch. I wait for the right moment to connect my punches and the girls can’t take it.”
She wasn’t bothered by the fact Rousey collected a guaranteed US$3 million purse while Nunes won just US$200,000 guaranteed, explaining she’ll receive a cut of pay-per-view sales.
“I think I’m going to get a lot of money,” Nunes said. “I’ll find out next week, but … it’s good. I’ll buy a home, get my mom a house, get some presents, help the people who’ve helped my career since I was 19 years old.”
Nunes will likely next meet the January 28 winner of Julianna Pena against second ranked Valentina Shevchenko, whom Nunes defeated by decision in March.
While Rousey’s next step is unknown, Nunes sought her out in the octagon after the stoppage and said, “You did a lot for the sport. Thank you so much. But now you can take time, rest and maybe do something else.”