Amanda Nunes talks motherhood, featherweight division and Megan Anderson matchup

UFC bantamweight-featherweight champion Amanda Nunes introduces her 5-month-old daughter Raegan Ann Nunes and breaks down Megan Anderson's weaknesses ahead of their bout at UFC 259 on Saturday, March, 6, 2021.

Video Transcript


KEVIN IOLE: Hey, folks. I am Kevin Iole. And welcome to Yahoo Sports. And I want to introduce, at this time, the newest member of the Nunes family, Reagan Ann Nunes. And of course, the world champ, Amanda Nunes. How are you, Amanda?


KEVIN IOLE: Thanks for bringing her along with us. She is what now, six months old?

AMANDA NUNES: She's five months.

KEVIN IOLE: Five months. OK, good.

AMANDA NUNES: Five month.

KEVIN IOLE: So is mama getting to-- getting to sleep at night?

AMANDA NUNES: Yeah, actually, she's a very, very, very good baby.

KEVIN IOLE: That is awesome. You know--

AMANDA NUNES: Team player. She's cool.

KEVIN IOLE: So the question is, you know, as anybody becomes a new parent, you know, it's a-- a life-changing experience. You have an unusual job for most people to become, you know, parents out there, beating people up. So what-- what is it going to be like?

You know, your focus is different now than it was before. You were notorious for how focused you were on the prize and getting to where you wanted to be. Now that you have that little beauty on your lap and in your life, how has that changed things?

AMANDA NUNES: You know, she helped me to focus more now. She's, like, a very good baby. She be able to stay at the gym. She's watching.

We-- we train at the same time sometimes because she's such a good baby. She be-- she be able to watch it, we're training. So I'm, like, very happy. She make me very happy.

And that's how she helped me to be more focusing because I want to-- she go every time to the fights with me and then see her mommy be the champion, you know. Stay with the belt. Actually-- actually, she-- she's a very good baby.

KEVIN IOLE: That is-- that's--

AMANDA NUNES: And she's getting very big. I be able to sleep at night, you know.

KEVIN IOLE: That's awesome. So she's a cutie pie, that's for sure. You know, let me-- let's start in the fight with this. UFC 259 on March 6, you are fighting Megan Anderson.

It's kind of like they're running out of people to fight you. You're knocking-- you're running through the division and knocking everybody out. Megan presents an interesting challenge just because of her size, you know. She's six feet tall. I think she's got a three or four inch--

AMANDA NUNES: She's big.

KEVIN IOLE: --reach advantage on you. What impact does that have on the fight? You're-- you're a striker. What impact does her being so much taller and longer than you have on this fight?

AMANDA NUNES: Yeah, this is a huge challenge, for sure. She's, like, tall. She know how to use very well her-- her reach. And but, you know, on the other side, I fight many tall girls.

You know, Germaine is very tall. I know how to do it, this kind of fight-- fighters, you know. So and that fight helped me with the-- with the prepare for this one, you know.

And I just-- I feel like it's all about your training partner, you know. And I got a good training partner, the same size as her and do my strategy all day. And everything's ready.

KEVIN IOLE: That's awesome. You know, do-- she hasn't had that-- that big win yet, right? I mean, she got a win over Cat Zingano. But it was kind of a fluky thing where Cat got kicked in the eye. And the fight got out.

So she hasn't had that-- you know, that big win. Does that hurt her going into a fight with you? Or does it help her because maybe it makes her hungrier and she knows, you know, hey, I beat Amanda, my-- my whole life changes?

AMANDA NUNES: Yep, she's hungry, for sure. If-- if I was her, I would be, you know, very hungry. This is my opportunity. I don't have anything to lose, you know.


AMANDA NUNES: I'm going to-- I'm going to go. I'm going to get in the octagon and try to do my best. So I-- I-- I know she's like-- she's-- she's going to be ready, you know. I know she's going to be hun-- hungry. And she's going to bring it. So that is the opportunity of her life, you know.

KEVIN IOLE: You're, what, about eight months since your last fight? So you actually have fought a lot more recently than her. Is that an advantage to you, you know, the fact that, you know, she's now going to be a little over a year between fights? You-- you know, you fought more recently. And I think fair to say, and I'm not saying this to dog her, but against better competition than she's fought. Do you think that that is advantage Nunes?

AMANDA NUNES: Yeah, definitely. I feel like if you-- you take so long for-- to fight, you obviously, you're not gonna get your rhythym very well. So I definitely have that advantage here. So but, you know, this is MMA. We have to be aware, you know. Like, she want something. It's mine, you know.


AMANDA NUNES: So she's gonna bring it. So this is the opportunity every-- every single-- every single girl want, you know. So she have it. But definitely, I have the advantage on that, you know, because I-- I did fight more than her. I've been-- I've been in big fights, too. So I feel like in experience and everything is going to be by my side.

KEVIN IOLE: No-- yeah, no question about that. You fought in that smaller cage, the 25 foot cage, that we'll have at Apex. For somebody like you who likes to kind of seek and destroy and put your hands on an opponent, did you find that a little refreshing like that, you know, you didn't have that-- Felicia Spencer didn't have all that space to move when you were in there? Did you like that?

AMANDA NUNES: Yeah, definitely. I come from grappling, you know. Striking-- striking came in my life, like, in a-- you know, a weird situation. I started knocking people out. I didn't even know I'd be--


AMANDA NUNES: --able to. So I come from jiu jitsu, you know, grappling. And so it's like not-- it's not down-- well, all you guys know I'm going to try to take her down, for sure, you know. And I will do. And I really want to get her ass on the floor. So the-- the small cage is even better for me because I want to grab her, you know. But it's going to be everything slow.

NINA: Are you done with this interview?

AMANDA NUNES: I'm not going to be crazy about taking her down. But if she let her face in front of me, I'm going to knock her out, you know. So I'm ready for the best moment.

KEVIN IOLE: She-- she obviously is-- is a really tough fighter. I mean, she proved that at one of her fights in Invicta. You know, she-- you know, she really went through a lot and-- and-- and won. So she has that out there. Does your mentality going-- you know, going into these fights, you know, when you're so heavily favored, I think, you know, in order to win $100 on you, somebody has to bet $1,200. I mean, so you're just such a massive favorite. Does that-- does your mentality have to be like you're the challenger as you go in to kind of be in the right frame of mind?

AMANDA NUNES: Honestly, like, I don't-- I don't ever think like one side or the other, you know. I always really, like, focusing in my game, focusing what I'm-- I'm supposed to do, you know, keeping my belt home with me. So when-- when people talk about, like, who is the favorite, who all those-- those bets, I don't really think about those things. You know, I keep focusing in my job, in what-- what I'm going to do. And I bring-- I focus all my energy on myself, you know. I don't let anything come out, internets, like, haters, whatever. Like, they never play with my head, you know.

KEVIN IOLE: How-- how do you have any haters? I mean, look at what you've done. How can Amanda Nunes have any haters?

AMANDA NUNES: I've been-- I've been in a very, like, powerful situations my whole career, you know. All my fights always, like, just big like these big, like, bombs all the time, like, you know. You have Ronda Rousey, Cyborg. So all those moments prepare, like, make--

KEVIN IOLE: There's no-- there's, you know, no doubt about it. I'm just shocked that anybody hates on you. Like, you're the-- you're the nicest fighter in the UFC. How can they hate on you?

AMANDA NUNES: They do. They do.

KEVIN IOLE: Come on.

AMANDA NUNES: You know they do.

KEVIN IOLE: We got to smack these people around. What-- what are they thinking? You know, are you frustrated or disappointed maybe is a better word, there's still not a really active featherweight division? If you look it-- you know, there's no, you know, no top 10 there. By this point, you know, it's a couple of years since you won the championship. You gotta-- are you talking to the UFC, saying, hey, what's going on with this division?

AMANDA NUNES: I-- I don't even talk about that. I feel like, at this point with the 145 division, it's kind of like I-- I want to-- if they was going to, like, take it out from the-- from the-- if they was going to take it out, the division, I'm going to be who is going to keep the belt, you know.


AMANDA NUNES: So I'm gonna-- they is going to take it out. But I'm going to be the champion from that division. So whatever they want to do with the division, I-- we don't know. I-- I'm like-- I'm OK with it, you know, if they-- they want to, like, whatever. The belts have to be with me, you know. But whatever they want to do. If they-- they find another challenge, I'm going to be here to fight, you know. I never is going to turn down any-- anybody, anybody. So whatever--

KEVIN IOLE: I think what we've got to do is get a camera to ATT-- ATT down there and have you and Kayla Harrison on in some of these sparring sessions. We might actually see the real women's featherweight championship. What is sparring with Kayla like?

AMANDA NUNES: So like, yeah, I feel like-- like Kayla have a lot of potential with things to-- to be in the UFC, for sure. So you know, it is what it is. You know, like she-- she follow her path. And I follow mine. If one day we have to see each other, it's-- it's not have a problem, you know.

KEVIN IOLE: Are you friends? Are you friendly or--

AMANDA NUNES: That is not going to be a problem.

KEVIN IOLE: I know you train with her.

AMANDA NUNES: No, definitely, we-- we see each other every day in the gym. You know, we always be able to train a little bit. But of course, they schedule-- sometimes there's a match, you know. I have my life going on. Sometimes I cannot be in the gym all the time.

I have my-- my schedule separated always. So because I have to play very well with my-- my outside life. I have my things going on. So but every time we-- we be able to train, it used to be very good training, you know, for sure. Like, a-- a very good training partner.

So but she have Pat. I have mine, you know. So if we-- if we-- we is going to see each other in the future, it's like, for sure. I know for her, it's not a problem. For me, it's not a problem, either. I feel like this is business, you know.

KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, that's-- that's what I want to see in a fight. You know, let me ask you this about her just out of curiosity. I know you're not even fighting her and I'm talking about a fight you're not taking. But she is a two-time Olympic--

AMANDA NUNES: I know, we don't want to talk about her, though. So let's go to my next question, because I cannot talk about somebody that isn't even in front of me yet, you know, so--


AMANDA NUNES: I'm sorry about that.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, let's finish on-- let's finish on-- on this one then. So where is the weakness in Megan's game? And how do you take advantage of it? You said you wanted to go to the ground. Is that-- is that where you feel her weakness is?

AMANDA NUNES: I feel like she have, like, weakness everywhere, even her strike as well, you know. So what I-- what I look for is the best moment, you know. She know I-- I'm going to-- I want to take her down, you know.

She know I'm going to go for it. I know she has very good knees, you know. Something that I-- that I really am going to be, like, really, really, really aware when I go for the jab or when I go whatever I'm going to do. So I know she have, like, very good striking. But at the same time, I can counter all those strikes, you know.

I can knock her out as well. So definitely, she has weakness in her striking. And she have a very weak takedown defense. I know she's been trained a lot for that, you know. So yeah, and I'm excited. I feel like she's-- she's going to be a very, very good fight for myself, especially because she's tall, you know.

She's tall. She have longer reach. I want to see how my game is going to play out when we-- we see each other.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, that is the GOAT, Amanda Nunes. On March 6, UFC 259, she will be fighting Megan Anderson. We will see how she does against that six feet tall fighter on March 6. Amanda, thank you so much. And thanks for letting us--

AMANDA NUNES: Thank you.

KEVIN IOLE: --see Reagan. Thank you so much.

AMANDA NUNES: Thank you.

KEVIN IOLE: Bye, bye.