“For me, she is the greatest of all time, for me, she is,” Aldana told reporters at a UFC 289 pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “That’s why it makes it even more great for me to be able to have this opportunity against her, to beat one of the greatest.”
Despite the respect and recognition she has for Nunes (22-5 MMA, 15-2 UFC), Aldana (14-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) is out to make history for herself when the two meet in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 289.
“I respect her, and it’s an honor for me, but as much as I respect her, for me, I’m coming with a mentality of winning,” Aldana said. “It’s not kill or die. For me, it’s kill or kill. That’s it.”
UFC 289: Make your predictions for Nunes vs. Aldana, Dariush vs. Oliveira
UFC 289: How to watch Nunes vs. Aldana, start time, fight card, odds
Nunes was thinking about retiring from the sport following her loss to Julianna Peña in December 2021. She eventually walked back those thoughts and avenged the loss to Peña last July. Even with her belt back, however, some wonder where the motivation lies for Nunes, who’s practically done it all in MMA.
Aldana is aware of this talk, but she also not going to let that affect her work come Saturday.
“I don’t know what’s on her mind,” Aldana said. “I don’t know if she wants to retire or not. We’ll never know how the other fighter is going to come mentally, but I’m expecting her best version.
“I’m thinking that if she’s going to retire that she’s going to want to retire as a champion, so I’m not taking it in the easy way. I’m expecting her best version and that’s it.”
Irene Aldana sees Amanda Nunes as the GOAT, but won't let status affect her at UFC 289
UFC 289's Eryk Anders plans retirement after five more fights to focus on fatherhood
Brandon Royval: Amir Albazi jumping me for UFC flyweight title shot would be 'f*cking crazy'
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 289.