Outside the Octagon with Amanda “Lioness” Nunes
When someone mentions women MMA fighters, it seems anyone with a smidgen of knowledge on the growing sport immediately resorts to the big names by default. The house-hold names. The Ronda Rousey’s, the Miesha Tates(ret)the Holly Holms and even Cristiane Justino – aka Cyborg. But before UFC 200 back on July 9th of 2016, no one was talking about our current Women’s Bantamweight Champion – Amanda Nunes. I’ll explain why later in this article. For now, lets have a look at our Champion, outside of the octagon.
Amanda Lourenco Nunes, also known as the ‘Lioness’ was born on May 30, 1988 in a small town outside of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. As with most future professional fighters, Amanda began training in Karate at the young age of 4 years old, which would carry her until her teenage years where she moved onto training in Boxing. The Lioness is so dominant with her striking, that rarely do we get to see her true craft – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Amanda credits her ground game to BJJ black belt master – Ryan Franco. Considered a true ‘Choke Artist’ – you can see these skills performed on former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, and now retired – Miesha Tate. If you asked the Lioness what brought her into the world of MMA, she would tell you her sister, Vanessa did.
*Amanda Nunes currently trains in Coconut Creek, FL at American Top Team
*The Lioness holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well a brown belt in Judo.
Amanda Nunes is the first openly Lesbian/Gay champion to date and is currently linked to UFC’s straw weight fighter Nina Ansaroff. Where did they meet, you might ask? Fighting brought them together and now have been dating for 4 consecutive years. Whether it’s training together, going on hiking adventures or partying, the two have openly admitted their pairing after Amanda won the Bantamweight title at UFC 200. Neither Amanda, nor Nina are spokeswomen for the LBGTQ community, but Amanda was awarded the Equality Visibility Award from Equality, California – which is a non-profit organization. The couple plans on having kids in the near future, so we’ll see how that effects both of their fighting careers inside the UFC.
When I mentioned previously that Amanda doesn’t receive the same media coverage as her opponent, it seems true. Approaching her fight with Ronda Rousey for her first title defense, Ronda was everywhere. Media outlets plastered her story and face on everything. It’s as if she was pre-determined to take her belt back. However, Nunes was left in the shadows of her opponent. Now, the UFC commits both fighters to qual media obligations, but for anything outside of that, it was all for Ronda. In the end, news coverage and interviews held no weight on the outcome of the fight, and Nunes won flawlessly. She showed mental toughness and did not waiver in the face of adversity – showing to the world that she is here to stay.