UFC double champion Amanda Nunes, who says she’s seen it all, has zero concerns about what Julianna Peña will bring to the Octagon when they meet Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
KEVIN IOLE: Hey folks. I am Kevin Iole. Welcome to Yahoo Sports, and on Saturday she is back, and she's back in the bantamweight division. Amanda Nunes, the greatest women's fighter in the world, will return to take on Julianna Pena at UFC 269. Joining me right now is Amanda.
Amanda, big one. First time in a while in the bantamweight division. What's this going to be like? A little different for you.
AMANDA NUNES: I'm very excited. Honestly for so long being on a strict diet. So that was very good motivation to get back my body the way I like to be. So I'm very excited.
KEVIN IOLE: The concern, I guess, anybody, you know, when people match this fight up, that's the concern. What Amanda is going to show up in the fight? Because it has been a while since you fought at this weight class. As , you're a couple of days away from getting into the cage, do you feel like your body has responded? I know you haven't made the weight cut yet, but you're taking it-- you're moving down. Do you feel like your body's responded, and you'll be able to be that what you were before at bantamweight?
AMANDA NUNES: Yeah, for sure. I feel like my body know being 135. My body knows how to recover pretty well, how to train, and still keep the power and everything. And the diet was pretty good, the training too. So everything come together pretty well like always, and the motivation is still the same, too. I'm hungry still so I feel like, oh geez, together, you know. I'm like stronger than ever.
KEVIN IOLE: And I hear your baby Raegan in the background. So she's joining us again, which is always good. You know Julianna has been kind of really-- her comments have almost bordered on cocky. And you know, she was in a couple of her interviews saying you were ducking her when you had to pull out of the fight when it was previously scheduled. Are you angry at that? is it bothering you that you're hearing her talk about you that way?
AMANDA NUNES: No. No actually, this is not true, what she say, how-- I'm ducking nobody. Nobody. That is-- it's not true and when she say all those things it's bad for her, you know. Because all you guys know. You guys know things first than I sometimes, you know what I mean? So I feel like she's the one being delusional about the whole situation.
KEVIN IOLE: Once in a while you see fighters-- Muhammad Ali famously did this with other boxers. When he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, not everybody would call him Muhammad Ali. Some people called him Cassius Clay, and he got mad, and he punished fighters who who wouldn't call him Ali.
Given that she's been kind of trash talking you and saying you were ducking and everything, do you think you might do a similar thing? Do you think you maybe make it a little extra tough?
AMANDA NUNES: Honestly I feel like happy with everybody, you know. You always want to shut down their mouth, like, happy with everybody, you know? Everybody happy with everybody. So with me it's not different, for sure. I think what she's doing right now, always spend half of her energy, you know. Because that's not going to change the result.
My hand is going to be raised Saturday. I'm 100% sure, so I feel like as long as she talk, expend all that energy before is up to her. Because honestly I didn't even-- I didn't even see anything she say, only like, if she should-- when I'm like-- through the internet it show up any moment, OK, I see. But I don't really see most of the things she talk about me on. I feel like only you guys know this. Everybody say, oh she talked. she really do and I didn't even see anything.
KEVIN IOLE: We're all tattle-tales. We're just trying to get people fighting.
AMANDA NUNES: But if you look up, this is her personality. How she is. Who she is. She's not being like, faking. This is how Julianna is. This is her personality. She's not changing anything. This is how she is.
KEVIN IOLE: She's a good-- obviously, she's a good fighter, and so what do you think she brings to the table? What are the biggest things that concern you about her game?
AMANDA NUNES: What is concerning about about her game? Nothing. I'm going to be honest with you because everything about her game I've seem before. Everything. Tough girls. I beat the most tough girl, like, many times. Even her training partner, best friend, have the same style.
Actually, I've seen Miesha Tate fight. I see her in a bantam fight. They are pretty much the same fighter. How they think is the same. How they they fight the same. And they training together before. You know what I mean? It's something that I already see. All my opponents do the same mistakes. Think exactly how Julianna think right now, and I beat all of them. And I will beat Julianna Peña.
KEVIN IOLE: I want to ask you this from an all time perspective. Obviously what you've done, you'll be in the Hall of Fame, someday, for what you've accomplished. But there was a bunch of you fighters, DC, yourself, Conor McGregor, I forget who else was in that mix. But-- Henry Cejudo-- that won multiple belts, but you have gone out and been going back and forth defending them.
Like when there's the competitor in you, when you look at those guys, and most of them didn't really defend the other titles, and you've defended both multiple times. Do you think that separates you from them, and puts you on top of that list?
AMANDA NUNES: Yeah, for sure. For sure. And they keep doing. It's not something that I-- I did more than them, and I'm moving forward, you know. I feel like, for sure, I should have been on top of it. Just gave me, like all the way because I still doing, and I still hold both belts.
KEVIN IOLE: Sure.
AMANDA NUNES: And up and now the amazing performance, if you like, or show, I mean, in the first place.
KEVIN IOLE: I want to ask you one thing about the featherweight belt, because Dana is on record as saying you basically control the featherweight division. And whatever Amanda wants to do is what's going to happen to the featherweight division. So do you feel any pressure to say, I'm going to keep-- I want to keep the featherweight title so that those other girls that are fighting at featherweight will keep their jobs and not have to leave the promotion?
AMANDA NUNES: You know, like, he's hoping as long as I'm, like, still want to fight it's going to be open, you know, because I hold the two belts. If I stop right now it's like, oh, I'm not going to-- I'm not going to do it, by the way, anymore. And I still doing bantamweight so, you know, I have two-- I got two, why why not win both them, leave it open. And, yeah, I think like that is going to be open for a while. Until I retire. I have a lot of-- many fights. Fighters still working, still want to you be in the UFC, and will you be there to defend the belt.
KEVIN IOLE: Two other questions I want to ask you. How are you different at bantamweight than you are at featherweight? Are you a different fighter at bantamweight than you are at feather?
AMANDA NUNES: Well I feel like the weights different. I'm eating. I just think about training, and that's it. And I feel like, you feel more comfortable when you, like, eating normal. And I need to do extra work to lose that weight. And I feel like it's not that you're more powerful, of course, because you have everything you want, like all the-- You don't cut out any nutrients or anything. So your body is like food loading and you just, like, training.
So I feel like I feel very well in both divisions. Now if you fast, you feel strong. And in 135 is not any different. The only thing is I have to lose weight, something a lot of people don't like to do. They never like it.
KEVIN IOLE: Amanda, what do you think you'll weigh when you get into the ring? How much weight will you add after the weigh in? And what do you normally weigh on a Fight Night when you're fighting at featherweight? I want 135. Usually I go back to 150. Yeah, it's my normal weight that I like to training. When I go down to 135 if you like good, powerful. And at 145 usually I go up to 160.
KEVIN IOLE: OK. Got it. Interesting.
AMANDA NUNES: I don't like to stay too heavy that that ain't going to help anything.
KEVIN IOLE: Because that slows you down.
AMANDA NUNES: Yeah I like to stay in a good way, and my body still keep moving and strong.
KEVIN IOLE: And finally, I'm sure you've been asked this a million times, but with with your friend and training partner, Kayla Harrison, being a free agent and maybe signing the UFC, could you ever see yourself fighting her? Would that be a fight you would take? Because a lot of people, because she's so decorated, two Olympic gold medals and everything, want to see you guys fight. And she's been so dominant. Would you fight her if that came up?
AMANDA NUNES: It's pretty good, except UFC on it. We already talk about all the fights. She already talk about. Everybody know what we think. It is very professional. Kayla is a very good training partner. So we are very good friends, too. But we both are very professional. So it's up to UFC.
KEVIN IOLE: So from your standpoint, if they ask you, you'll do it.
AMANDA NUNES: I'll be chomping. Not a question you ask to somebody holding the belt. Who step in front of you, you got to defend.
KEVIN IOLE: All right. Well, Julianna Peña is in front of you on Saturday. Look forward to seeing you on Saturday night after that fight. Good luck to you, Amanda. Thank you so much.
AMANDA NUNES: Thank you.
KEVIN IOLE: Appreciate you.