Amanda Nunes retired after defeating Irene Altana at UFC 289

Mark RaimondiESPN staff writerJune 11, 2023, 01:14 AM ET4 minutes of reading

Amanda Nunes put her two UFC championship belts on the Octagon mat and made Gutman take off her gloves. She placed gloves between the two titles, knelt down, and wept into the canvas.

On Saturday, after one of her most dominant performances in years, the greatest women’s fighter of all time announced her retirement at UFC 289 on Saturday in Vancouver.

“A double champion forever,” Nunes said. “It’s a perfect night to rest.”

Nunes defeated Irene Aldana via unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 50-44) in the main event of the pay-per-view card, in a comprehensive performance that saw Nunes win every minute. With the win, Nunes defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title. She is also the UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion. And he will vacate both belts when he retires.

Aldana was a complementary antagonist. Former champion Juliana Pena was scheduled to fight Nunes in a trilogy fight on Saturday, but was forced to pull out after breaking her ribs.

When asked what he expects to remember most in the post-fight news conference, Nunes was quick to answer.

“Greatest of all time,” Nunes said. “I did everything, I broke a lot of records.”

Nunes said as soon as he signed the contract to fight Aldana, he knew it would be the final fight of his career. But she didn’t want to bring it up until she finished the job.

“I don’t want to focus on that,” Nunes said. “Focus on my fight. I don’t want to talk about retiring forever.”

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As for what’s next, Nunes said he plans to take an extended break and return to his native Brazil for a while. She is dealing with nerve damage in both legs, an issue that reoccurs every time she fights, she said. Nunes walked into Saturday night’s news conference on crutches, a common post-fight scene.

Amanda Nunes is one of only four fighters in UFC history to hold two division titles simultaneously. Her 11 UFC title fight wins are the most ever among women.Jeff Bottari/Jufa LLC

But after that time, Nunes said he would return to his South Florida gym, Lioness Studios, to coach. She said she loved the game.

“I have a gym,” Nunes said. “I’ve got a couple of girls there that I’d like to help them see [MMA achievements], as well as. I have a lot to offer. As a double player, I know a lot. … I can also champion a woman. If I really work with a woman, I can champion her. I know everything about this game.”

UFC president Dana White said he was “not shocked” by Nunes’ decision to retire because of how much money he’s made and how much his life has changed over the past 10 years.

“This is what Amanda wanted,” White said at the post-fight news conference. “I’m definitely happy for her. Do I want her to stick around and do some more? Sure. I love the kid. She’s been incredible to work with. She’s a good person and a great champion.”

White said the UFC women’s featherweight title and division, which lacks any depth, will “probably” be retired once Nunes leaves.

Nunes (23-5) regained the bantamweight title in his previous fight, a unanimous decision over Pena at UFC 277 last July. Pena ended Nunes’ UFC women’s record 12-fight winning streak and title reign at UFC 269 in December 2021.

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Nunes, 35, has the most wins in UFC women’s history (16); Most UFC title wins among women in history (11, tied with Anderson Silva for fourth-most in UFC history, regardless of gender); and in UFC women’s history (10). The longtime Florida resident has defeated every other contender to win the UFC women’s featherweight and bantamweight titles, including Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm. She owns two wins over former UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Aldana (14-6) has won two straight and has come in seven of his last nine fights. The Mexican-born fighter had finished his last three wins via KO/TKO. Aldana, 35, has a 7-5 UFC record.

Nunes spent 10 years in the UFC, amassing a 16-2 record.

Nunes outscored Altana 142-41 in striking outs. According to ESPN Stats and Information, those are the most significant strikes Nunes has ever landed in a UFC fight.

Pena, Nunes’ hot rival, looked up to Nunes on Twitter and initially congratulated him, but questioned why he retired before completing their trilogy of fights. Nunes laughed it off and said if Peña had been his opponent, he wouldn’t have retired Saturday.

“I’ve got to hit her again tonight,” Nunes said. “If it was Juliana Pena tonight, I wouldn’t retire. I wanted to retire after fighting someone I’ve never fought before.”

In the end, Nunes said, he couldn’t have been happier with the way it played out. She was asked about her favorite moment at the news conference, but couldn’t narrow it down to one.

“Kick [knockout] Also against Holly Holm was a good one,” Nunes said. “Fight against Ronda Rousey. Cyborg fighting. Tonight was amazing. A lot. I am very happy and grateful. It turned out just the way I wanted it to be.”

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