Growing up in Brazil, Amanda Nunes knew she would one day become either a professional soccer player or a fighter. Nunes opted for that second path, and as a result, she has turned into one of the greatest to ever step foot in the Octagon.
Nunes still loves football, though, so it was only natural that she linked up with United States star and two-time World Cup winner Carli Lloyd as part of Cam Newton’s Iron Sharpens Iron series on Quibi, which pairs athletes from different sports with one another and focuses on the training that goes into becoming the best in their craft.
“We are two of the best girls in different sports,” Nunes told UPROXX Sports. “We trained together, laughed together and trained a bit in MMA. She learned some Jiu-Jitsu, striking, a little bit of wrestling and she did very well. She never trained, but was able to pick up some things. She’s very athletic and soccer players can easily learn.”
In the six-plus minute clip, Nunes and Lloyd realized just how similar their training is, from body positioning to the need for precise footwork. And for Nunes, working with a fellow champion brought an opportunity to reminisce on her illustrious career.
“We work hard for those moments,” Nunes said. “We worked smart with the decisions we made to get where we are now and be stable. We train smart in the gym. When I started, I wanted to train hard all the time. When I became champion, I became the one with the target all the time in training and in fights. Back then, I used to train a lot and I never gave my body a rest. Since I got in the UFC, I learned more about my body and how to be the best. Now, I’m going to stay here for a long time until I’m retired.”
Taking care of her body is of utmost importance for Nunes, who won the first of her two UFC titles in 2016. Since then, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has had her fair share of tests, taking three of seven opponents into the fifth and final round.
“I feel like I’m getting old,” Nunes said. “My body reacts differently. Every fighter has pain all over from the morning when you wake up. It’s hard. For me, the only problem right now is preparing my body. I really have to warm up when I go to the gym.”
Despite the aches and pains of Father Time, Nunes boasts the confidence of an all-time great. After all, Nunes finished the careers of Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. She was the last woman to beat Valentina Shevchenko, and she boasts round one knockouts of both Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm.
“I have two belts. All the girls think about me right now. I’m ready for all the girls in my division, 135 and 145. I’m way in front of all the girls. I know all the game plans for all the girls. As soon as I have an opponent, I know what she wants to do to me. I know what she’s going to look for, what she’s going to try to do,” Nunes said. “That has made me feel how I feel: secure, confident, strong and better than all of them.”
As for what’s next, Nunes plans to defend her featherweight title sometime in 2020. While her title fight hasn’t been booked yet, it won’t be May 9 as originally slated due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. For the double champ, whoever her opponent is and whenever that bout happens, there’s no question in her mind — she’ll continue to build on an impressive 10-fight win streak.
“Life always gives us something we’re looking for. I’m going to defend both belts and keep them. Life will show me something else. We will see, when we talk again, I’ll have a lot of gold,” Nunes said. “This is what I wake up every day to do. I never did anything else in life. I’m never going to lose again. Losing has stopped.”