Amanda Nunes calls impending motherhood, not Felicia Spencer, her 'biggest challenge'

Kevin IoleCombat columnist
Yahoo Sports

LAS VEGAS — Hang around Amanda Nunes for any length of time and two things quickly become obvious: She enjoys her life and not much bothers her.

At one point, she’s describing her efforts to cut weight for her bantamweight title defense against Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 in December at T-Mobile Arena. She says, “It was torture; straight torture,” and then vows that she’ll never again put herself into a position where cutting weight is so difficult.

Just at the time you think she’s going to complain, as she is recounting a conversation with UFC featherweight Edson Barboza telling her how easily he’s able to sweat weight off, she giggles like a 12-year-old.

“You have to be crazy to like to cut weight, but if you like to fight like I do, it’s one of the things you have to do, so no sense complaining, right?” she said.

She’ll make the first defense of the featherweight title she won at UFC 232 in 2018 when she knocked out Cris “Cyborg” Justino in just 51 seconds when she faces Felicia Spencer on Saturday in the main event of UFC 250 at the company’s Apex facility.

Defending the featherweight title after having made back-to-back defenses of the bantamweight crown following her win over Cyborg will make her feel complete as an athlete.

“It will be history, you know?” she says. “I will get this one for sure. There is no doubt in my mind. I’m going to do my job and make some history. But my job has become history now. This is going to be the first [woman] to defend titles in two weight classes. History, you know? Now, when I fight, I’m making history.”

Amanda Nunes will defend her featherweight belt Saturday at UFC 250 after having made back-to-back defenses of her bantamweight title. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Amanda Nunes will defend her featherweight belt Saturday at UFC 250 after having made back-to-back defenses of her bantamweight title. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Her life will change, win or lose, after the fight with Spencer. Her partner, Nina Ansaroff, is pregnant with the couple’s first child, a girl whom they’ll name Raegan Ann Nunes, and is due in September.

As any first-time parent could tell her, life is going to change radically. And she can’t wait.

“I think about her so much and what I’m going to say to her and what we’re going to do together,” Nunes said. “This is the best time of life, knowing you have a child on the way. I was telling Nina there are so many things we need to do and to think about it. Everything is going to be about the kid now. Before, I have my three dogs and my animals on the farm in Brazil, but this is so different.

“The baby will need me. I know this. I am going to give my life to [being the best mother] I can be.”

She’s going to continue to fight, so she knows she’ll have to manage her time. That’s especially true because Ansaroff also plans to keep fighting.

She’s all about her routine as a fighter, and now she’ll have to develop a new one. She calls motherhood “my biggest challenge,” and is excited to meet Raegan Ann.

“I think I’ll grow as a human,” she said. “I’m going to learn a lot about life and about people by being a mother and raising a child. I’m way better than I used to be and the thing that makes me feel good is I know I’ll be better when the baby comes.”

Until then, though, she has the small matter of dealing with Spencer, who showed her talents by going the distance in a loss to Cyborg at UFC 240 last year. A black belt in taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Spencer rebounded from the loss to Cyborg to stop Zarah Fairn Dos Santos in the first round in February.

She’s 8-1 with six finishes but Nunes doesn’t sound all that impressed or concerned.

“She has nothing to lose and she’s going to make me be ready for everything,” Nunes said. “She doesn’t have that much, to be honest, and I see holes. I see these holes and I know how to take advantage. Just you watch.”

As she says that, she giggles to herself again. This is a woman at the top of her career, the best to ever do it and still getting better. 

But though she’s filled with confidence, she’s still as humble and self-effacing as ever.

“When you have been given things and the ability to make history like I have, you want to take advantage of it,” she said. “I know what I can do in there and I believe in myself. I know how to prepare to do what I have to do. A fight is a fight and you never know how things are going to go, so you have to be ready for everything and just react. I’ve done OK doing that, I think.”

It’s hard to argue that. 

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