Amanda Nunes will not defend Featherweight Title

Amanda Nunes celebrates her win over Cyborg, becoming the women's Featherweight champion.
Amanda Nunes celebrates her win over Cyborg, becoming the women's Featherweight champion. Image ©USATODAY

On Wednesday afternoon, current Bantamweight and Featherweight champion Amanda Nunes revealed that she has no intention to defend her 145 lbs title, deciding to move back down to 135 lbs now that she has completed her goal of being the ‘champ champ’.

With The Lioness confirming that she has no intention to defend the 145 lbs belt, it didn’t take Megan Anderson long to throw her name into the ring as a challenger for the soon to be vacant title. Though Anderson is 9-2 over her career, she is only 1-1 in the UFC (though the one win coming via eye injury caused by a kick). It highlights how weak the women’s Featherweight division is, and they may have now lost the star power in former champ Cyborg after she was so easily beaten by Nunes. It will be interesting to see if the division can recover from here, or if it will head the way of the men’s Flyweight division.

There has been a lot of chatter in recent days that we could potentially see Nunes defend her Bantamweight championship against Holly Holm, in what would certainly be a very marketable matchup for the UFC. In a string of tweets yesterday, Nunes mentioned that Holm would be a viable and likely contender for her next title defence, the only stumbling block being that The Preacher’s Daughter is currently slated to take on surging star Aspen Ladd in March at UFC 235.

It is by no means a lock that Holm will come through her fight with Ladd unscathed, there is a strong possibility she may even lose the fight – Ladd is currently undefeated through the first seven bouts of her young career. She has rocketed towards the top of the rankings at Stylebender level speed, the warning signs are already that she could be a real force in this division for a long time… if she can make weight, that is, something she has struggled with on a number of different occasions.

There was one final tweet from Nunes that sparked a vast amount of fan intrigue, after she expressed her interest in moving down to 125 lbs to take on Valentina Shevchenko. Definitely one to be taken with a pinch of salt, and Nunes would likely have to defend her belt at least once this year before moving on down, but beating Shevchenko could make Nunes the first UFC fighter in history to hold a belt in three different divisions…

It’s going to be an interesting year in women’s MMA.