Amanda Nunes Hints at Return After Pennington Claims Throne

The greatest female MMA fighter of all time is not sure if she will remain retired after a new champion is crowned

by Sededin Dedovic
Amanda Nunes Hints at Return After Pennington Claims Throne
© Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

At a somewhat disappointing UFC 297, Raquel Pennington captured the vacant women's bantamweight title in a strategic fight against Mayra Bueno Silva. The American showed her experience and skill, securing a unanimous decision from the judges after five rounds of intense combat.

This victory means that she is now the new champion after the departure of the legendary Amanda Nunes last year. Nunes, considered the greatest fighter of all time, vacated the belt, opening the door for a new era in the women's bantamweight division.

Pennington's next challenge should come from Julianne Pena, the first contender for the newly minted champion. Penny's injury kept her out of the title fight, but now she sees an opportunity to dethrone Pennington and claim the title for herself.

However, a potential twist awaits the division, as the retired Amanda Nunes contemplates a sensational return to the cage. In an interview following UFC 297, Nunes revealed mixed emotions while watching the title fight and expressed her thoughts on returning to competitive action.

"I was nervous watching the title fight. I don't know why, but I was very nervous and had mixed feelings. I was happy and sad at the same time. It wasn't until I saw 'Rocky' with the belt that I was okay with it, I didn't feel upset.

I think retiring was a good decision, I took some time off. I had to take care of the babies too, I couldn't leave Nina (Amanda's partner) alone with two babies. So I enjoyed it too." The former champion has hinted at the possibility of returning to Brazil to spend time with friends and family before making a final decision on her fighting future.

"My whole life was related to fighting and my career, so I didn't enjoy my twenties too much. Now I'm 35 years old, I have the opportunity to go back to Brazil, be with my friends and family, enjoy myself, and then I'll see what comes next."

Amanda Nunes© Jordan Jones / Getty Images

"I'm still young and fresh.

We never know what can happen. I'm a fighter and this is my job," Nunes said, emphasizing her love for the sport. Her indecision about a potential return leaves fans in suspense. Without official confirmation, we don't know for sure if the greatest will ever return again.

She added that she enjoyed the time without training and the gym, she even admitted that she is very lazy when it comes to competition, which further complicated her story regarding her return. "I also enjoy the days when I don't have to spend in the gym and I can live a normal life and be a bit lazy.

As a fighter, I can't allow myself to be lazy. For the most part, I'm still healthy and powerful. I'm smart, I think like a champion, and I I feel. We'll see what happens,'' Amanda concluded, looking rather hesitant. The women's bantamweight category is experiencing changes with the victory of Pennington, just when we thought that a new era of the women's UFC was beginning, it seems that the former champion and the greatest fighter of all time in her category is coming back to change things.

Raquel Pennington of the United States fights against Mayra Bueno Silva of Brazil© Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images

Pennington won the vacated spot quite convincingly against Mayra Bueno Silva in the title match.

From the outset, Pennington launched aggressive strikes, trying to dismantle her opponent. However, Bueno Silva responded by using effective knees and counterattacking successfully. We can say that the Brazilian was very competitive in the first round and maybe even better.

Bueno Silva's fatigue became apparent, and Pennington took advantage. The merciless clinch exchanges continued, frustrating the crowd. Despite Buena Silva's attempts to secure submissions, Pennington dominated with ground and pound.

Pennington's dominance prevailed as she pounded the ground and showed superb fitness. After a grueling 25 minutes, the judges gave a unanimous decision in favor of Pennington, marking her 16th career win and crowning her the new women's bantamweight champion.

It was this scene that caused sadness and nostalgia for Amanda Nunes, as she herself stated. It must be admitted that Pennington is a truly deserving champion, but if Amanda Nunes returns, it will be very difficult for her to keep that belt.

Her chance in that case would be in fitness and waiting for the last two rounds because Amanda has not trained for a long time and it is not possible to restore the competitor's condition in a short period of time. Although this is only a hypothetical opinion of what would happen if it happened, because even Amanda herself does not know for sure if and when she will return.

She marked an era in the UFC, and perhaps a return would not be the right move considering the long break, as it could spoil the legacy she left behind. Her team is still together, but Nunes herself complained that she had become lazy and was enjoying a long vacation.

Although the women's division does not arouse public interest like the UFC men's division, when it comes to the MMA legend and the best fighter in the history of his division, the announcement of his return from retirement becomes a real treat for fans of this sport.

Amanda Nunes