UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes returns to action for the first time since defeating Ronda Rousey at UFC 207.
Nunes experienced never-before-seen fame after disposing of the face of women's MMA last December, but has yet to defend her Bantamweight Championship since. Nunes pulled out of a scheduled title defense against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 213 and it is something she is tired of talking about already.
“Yeah (she is tired of talking about it), I had a very bad sinus condition and I wouldn’t be able to go through (with the fight) and it happened the day before I started my weight cut. It threw my weight off and it started getting worse, the day of the fight it (the illness) got way, way worse and it got worse,” Nunes said to Fightful.com correspondent Kendrick Johnson.
Shevchenko and Nunes had battled once before the canceled title fight, with Nunes getting a decision win the first time around. The first bout was a three round affair, with this fight being scheduled for five rounds. It's worth noting that the champion Nunes has never competed past the third round, while Shevchenko considers that pretty familiar territory.
The women’s bantamweight champion faced a lot of criticism after exiting the bout, but she stays she wanted to fight at 100%. In the past, fighters like Donald Cerrone have discussed the dangers in competing with sinus infections, and how they've affected them personally. Balance, wit, among other things can all be affected inside the cage when battling sinusitis.
“Do you want to see a fighter step into the cage and not at 100%? I don’t understand (the criticism) you know, I wouldn’t have been able to take a hit that night. My head on the day of the fight…my face was swollen, I hydrated everything on the day of the fight, but my head got swollen. I was off balance, seriously, I’m gonna put myself through that to make you (the fans) happy. I have to step in the cage at 100% to show my skills. If I was winning or losing (at UFC 213), at least I would have been 100%,” says Nunes.
Nunes met critcism from Dana White, fighters and fans alike for her inability to compete. The withdrawal helped contribute to one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's poorest pay-per-view efforts of all-time. In wake of the removal, an interim Middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker was moved up to the main event. Several fighters offered to step in to face Shevchenko at the card, but it was too late.
The Brazilian has battled several injuries in her career. She was forced out of a planned 2014 fight with Shayna Baszler due to an injured thumb, a fight in 2013 with an arm injury, and a 2011 bout because of a foot injury.
UFC 215 takes place on Saturday, September 9 from Rogers Place on Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.