SAN DIEGO – Nina Nunes won’t be one of those fighters who flip-flops on retirement. She’s done, and vows it’s for good.
After defeating Cynthia Calvillo (9-5-1 MMA, 6-5-1 UFC) by split decision on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 41, Nunes (11-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) took off her gloves, laid them down in the center of the octagon and announced her career is over.
It’s a decision that has been brewing for quite a while, said Nunes, who made her MMA debut just shy of 12 years ago in September 2010. It would’ve happened last month when she was supposed to fight Calvillo originally, but the fight was postponed when Nunes came down with a fight-day illness that had the bout postponed.
Nunes said her life is quite hectic trying to be a mother alongside her wife and double UFC champion Amanda Nunes, and given her priorities to have more children, she said the timing was just right.
“These last few months have been heavy,” Nunes told reporters post-fight at UFC on ESPN 41. “Amanda’s rematch (with Julianna Peña), opening a new gym, moving, having a two-year-old. It’s just been a lot. That emotion of Amanda losing after a long time, I just wanted to secure that while trying to coach her and train at the same time. I always wanted to have more kids, I wanted to have them close together. I’m not doing that comeback again (after having a child), because that was horrible. So, I’m just going to stop and make a couple in a row.”
Nunes pointed to her victory against Claudia Gadelha at UFC 231 in December 2018 as the pinnacle of her career. After that, she gave undefeated Tatiana Suarez the most competitive fight of her career in a defeat. Then she took a nearly two-year layoff to give birth, and came back in April 2021 to a loss against Mackenzie Dern.
Although Nunes knew after the defeat against Dern that the next fight would be her swan song, she knows there’s still a degree of unfulfilled potential when it comes to her career. Despite that, Nunes said she’s at peace with her decision. She said she’ll remain around the sport as a coach and training partner, but promises we’ll never see her in a competitive setting again.
“I know I could’ve gone further in this sport, but I took two years off for a baby, a year off for a knee surgery – all these things adding up,” Nunes said. “I’m just glad I was able to accomplish what I was. … Absolutely not (going to come back). I am done. Completely done. I told myself when I really retired, I would really retire and focus all my energy on whoever is next.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 41.