SAN DIEGO – Nina Nunes is still training at American Top Team despite her wife Amanda Nunes having a well-documented divorce from the gym.
Following an upset loss to Julianna Peña at UFC 269 in December, Amanda parted ways with her longtime home at ATT in Coconut Creek, Fla., in favor of starting her own facility just a short drive away. That decision seemed to pay off for her after gaining revenge on Peña in the rematch at UFC 277 in July.
Nina (10-7 MMA, 4-4 UFC), who is set to meet Cynthia Calvillo (9-4-1 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 41 card, opted against following suit. Her history with ATT goes back much further than Amanda’s, and Nina said she was able to allocate her time and maximize the conditions of working in multiple gyms.
“I stayed at American Top Team – I did both,” Nunes told MMA Junkie and other reporters at UFC on ESPN 41 media day. “I trained in the morning at American Top Team, I went to the gym, watched Amanda’s sparring, I coached hr sparrings and then I trained conditioning after that. So I was actively in both gyms, I had good training partners at American Top Team. I’ve been there for 15 years. I’m going to stay there until I finish my career. I have the gym with Amanda as well. It’s 15 minutes apart. It makes no different to me. Amanda is going to pick whatever times she wats to train and we work around that.”
Nina was supposed to fight Calvillo at UFC on ESPN 39 on July 9, but she came down with an illness around weigh-ins. She said she went through every possible avenue to find a way into the octagon, but ultimately she “couldn’t keep food up” and was forced to pull out of the fight.
The UFC booked a new date, and now the matchup happens this weekend at Pechanga Arena and airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.
“I wanted to still fight Cynthia,” Nunes said. “I thought it would be fair to her, too, she prepared for a fight against me. It wasn’t her fault. They were asking to maybe do it in Long Island, but i wasn’t sure if it would be a 24-48 hour thing. The next card they had available was San Diego, I think she’s from California so it worked out well. It was enough time she was able to re-cut the weight.”
This fight is an important one for Nina’s career. She’s lost back-to-back fights against Mackenzie Dern and Tatiana Suarez, albeit nearly two years apart because of the time off she took to birth her and Amanda’s child.
Nina had no desire to have a three-fight losing skid on her record, and at UFC on ESPN 41 will be moving up to the women’s flyweight division for the first time in her UFC career.
She thinks this is the division where she belongs, and the 36-year-old hopes it’s where her best performance unfold.
“I feel so strong at 125,” Nunes said. “It was a no brainer. I am a 125er. I trained with the girls in (‘The Ultimate Fighter’) house that were 125ers, and it was like, ‘Yeah, I’m a 125er.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 41.