Women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was understandably angered at the UFC’s decision to only promote returning superstar Ronda Rousey prior to their main event fight at UFC 207.
The questionable call came from an obvious business standpoint despite the fact that “Rowdy” was surrounded by a myriad of question marks while Nunes had been dominating top-level competition the entire year Rousey was absent from the sport following her first loss, a disheartening knockout to Holly Holm at 2015’s UFC 193.
It lead to a response from Nunes that many felt was a bit harsh after her 48second domination of Rousey, something the champion has since apologized for. But during a recent Q&A session prior to tonight’s (Sat., March 11, 2017) UFC Fight Night 106 from Fortaleza, Brazil (via MMA Fighting), Nunes revealed she wasn’t as angry as she was sad at the UFC’s overall treatment of the better fighter, and it made her want to punish ‘Rowdy’ more:
“I talk about anger, but I was sad. I felt alone, you know what I mean? Everything was for Ronda, and I was the champion, the best in the world. That’s why I say that. They hurt me a lot. I fought that day with anger.
“Every time I touched Ronda, connected a punch, I wanted more and more,” she continued. “That’s why the fight was so fast. Every time I connected, I felt that she couldn’t take it, so I threw more and only stopped when it was over. But it was good.
“It was great, you know? Every punch I landed in that face made me wanna laugh, but I held it. It was great.”
The words make sense watching how she took her anger out on Rousey’s face that night, yet that doesn’t mean she wishes the superstar former champ, whose camp she all-out smashed in her post-fight interview, any further harm. In fact, she hopes “Rowdy” can use a change of scenery to make a successful comeback and go out with a win:
“She needs to take some time to recover. A loss is something tough. I’ve lost before, you need great people around you, your family, people giving you positive energy. I want to see Ronda coming back, her finishing her career with a win. Every athlete deserves that. I don’t want it to end this way because it’s sad.
“I won, but I don’t wish her any harm. I want her to come back and maybe, who knows, a rematch in the future? It would be perfect.”
It’s a stark departure from Nunes now, as it’s clear she’s had time to let her anger and hurt from the UFC dissipate in order to objectively view Rousey and the circumstances overall.
Still, it’s fair to question if the UFC would be better served to start promoting a dominant, stoppage-motivated champ rather than put their success on the shoulders of a fading star who may or maybe not ever return to the octagon again.
Will “Rowdy’s” career end like “The Lioness” hopes it does, or is the onetime freight train too far gone due to the faults of Edmond Tarverdyan?