Amanda Nunes is the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion. If there is any justice, Nunes should be the belt holder for a while. Any discussion of an Amanda Nunes fight with Ronda Rousey should be sidelined for the foreseeable future.
UFC 200 was supposed to be the grandest card of them all. So many things went wrong in the days leading up to the major show. That included the failed drug test (courtesy of the New York Times) of light heavyweight contender Jon Jones. His bout with champion Daniel Cormier was the original main event for UFC 200. Jones was taken from the card completely.
Looking for any sign of hope for a show that had been placed on life support, three key changes was made to the card. One of those tweaks stole the night.
The UFC adapted from not having Jon Jones by inserting (courtesy of UFC.com) Anderson Silva in the match with Cormier. The other changes were to the main events, as Brock Lesnar’s UFC return versus Mark Hunt and Miesha Tate’s title defense against Amanda Nunes became the headliners. Of those adaptations, it was Amanda Nunes who owned the night.
Amanda Nunes, an unknown to casual UFC fans, dominated Miesha Tate (courtesy of ESPN) in her first round victory by submitting the champion with a rear naked choke. Nunes should be allowed to enjoy her win over Tate, as well as a couple of other things before anyone thinks of rushing her to fight Ronda Rousey.
“I feel amazing. Every fighter has something to change [in order] to evolve. I am this kind of fighter. I always have to work to try to make things happen in my life. Everybody knows that I respect Miesha a lot, but I’m the new champion.”
Because Amanda Nunes is the new champion she should be able to take a little time off before she makes her first title defense. The time is needed for everyone to catch up and realize how good she is, and how great she can become.
Nunes easily destroying Tate even caught UFC president Dana White off guard.
“I didn’t see that coming. Miesha Tate is well known for being tough, durable, having a great chin and taking punishment, but she couldn’t take the punishment Amanda Nunes brought out tonight.”
Once the subject of Amanda Nunes facing Ronda Rousey came up, White was quick to say that it is up to the former women’s bantamweight champion.
Amanda Nunes versus Ronda Rousey would make an excellent fight. Their fight would go over well with the fans, but it should not happen as fast as Dana White, or anyone else may want it to. Amanda Nunes is the third woman to hold the bantamweight title in a succession of fights since Ronda Rousey made her defense against Holly Holm. It is time for the title to rest a bit and regain some of it’s credibility.
In other words, Amanda Nunes should be groomed as a legitimate champion. Dana White needs to build Nunes up until Ronda Rousey is truly ready to fight.
The only way to do this is by having Nunes take on two fights against beatable opposition. This strategy has been used in the past for both women’s champions, Rousey and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Both Rousey and Jedrzejczyk were challenged at times in their respective title reigns. Competition is a necessary thing for the UFC. But what has made them into the ratings draws that they are, White had to place them in the position where they can dominate, while being slightly vulnerable.
Vulnerability is a good selling point for Amanda Nunes for now. Because she is still evolving as a UFC fighter, she will not reach her potential until she has a couple more fights under her belt. She has good striking ability and defense. Once she hones in on her aggressive style, becoming a more cerebral fighter, she will be truly difficult to beat.
Amanda Nunes’ next fight is perhaps her most important one. And her next opponent should be the winner of the upcoming Holly Holm versus Valentina Shevchenko fight.
If Amanda Nunes can defeat the winner of that bout, she will have built some momentum that has been stunted by the rotation of title changes. Having Nunes defend the title against Rousey would have more definition behind it if the champion has had a defense or two under her belt. This gives Amanda Nunes some much needed confidence and will make for a competitive fight.
No one should want for Ronda Rousey to come in and easily take back the bantamweight title. That is not good for business. But if Amanda Nunes can reach her full potential with at least one more fight under her belt the UFC may finally have a true rivalry in the women’s bantamweight division.
Let Amanda Nunes continue to grow into her own, while Ronda Rousey fully gets ready. It is also time to restore the prestige in the women’s bantamweight belt.
[Photo by Ray Del Rio/Getty Images]