Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans around the world have expressed mixed reactions following the retirement of the iconic Amanda Nunes, arguably the greatest female fighter in UFC history. While some mourn the departure of this Brazilian powerhouse, others are keenly observing the bantamweight division, where a fresh era of competition is on the horizon.
Nunes’ Legacy and the Wake of her Retirement
In Nunes' heyday, the division bore her indomitable presence, and her title matches often did not generate much interest, due to her seemingly invincible stature. However, her exit is forecasted to give rise to new opportunities for equally formidable fighters competing for the vacant title.
Amanda Nunes' retirement has been deemed a "new breath of life" for the bantamweight division, as reported by MMA Junkie during the UFC's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The potential for a more unpredictable and captivating competitive landscape has ignited excitement among fighters and fans alike.
Miesha Tate Sees Open Opportunity
Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, offered her perspective on this seismic shift within the division. When asked if she agreed with the notion of Nunes' departure invigorating the division, she responded, "You're absolutely right...
Yes. Absolutely. There was no way any of us were beating her. So, thank God." Despite some criticism regarding her optimism, Tate continues to assert her confidence and readiness for a title shot. Her dominant finish win since her return and a close decision loss against top-five bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira gives her hope that her name might be in the running.
Back in March 2016, Tate became the bantamweight champion, defeating then-champion Holly Holm by submission. However, her reign was short-lived as Amanda Nunes took the belt four months later. Her defeat, followed by a subsequent loss to Raquel Pennington, led to her first retirement from the sport.
The Fight for the Vacant Title
Tate's retirement ended in mid-2021, marking her return with a striking win against Marion Reneau. Although a subsequent loss to Ketlen Vieira and an unsuccessful venture into the flyweight division against Lauren Murphy have marked her journey, Tate is undeterred.
With Nunes' retirement, the UFC's search is on for female fighters ready to fight for the coveted title. Miesha Tate's determination, paired with her belief in a revitalized chance to secure the championship, has added a layer of intrigue to the unfolding story within the bantamweight division.
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White: "Amanda Nunes never cared who she was fighting."