Nunes retains bantamweight belt, calls time on glittering career

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Brazil’s Amanda Nunes scored a dominant decision victory over Irene Aldana to retain her bantamweight crown at UFC 289 before dancing with her daughter and retiring in the cage as the curtain came down on a stunning career.

The 35-year-old laid her gloves between her bantamweight and featherweight belts on the octagon floor, bringing an end to a sensational run that saw her become the first woman to hold two UFC titles simultaneously and the first openly gay UFC champ.

“Double champion forever, baby!” roared Nunes, nicknamed “The Lioness”, as her gloves were being removed for the final time.

Nunes was originally slated to fight Juliana Pena, who interrupted the Brazilian’s dominant bantamweight run with a surprise win in December 2021 before losing the rematch, but Pena suffered a rib injury and had to withdraw.

Mexican Aldana was thrown into the fray as a replacement and she proved no match for Nunes, who outclassed her in every facet of the game en route to a unanimous decision victory.

As the final moments of her career played out, the Brazilian enjoyed a dance with her daughter Raegan in the octagon before revealing that her wife Nina is pregnant with their second child, adding that family was the reason for her retirement.

“My mom was asking me so much to do this (retire) for so long, she can’t take it anymore,” Nunes said.

“My partner as well, Nina, she’s been around so much with me my whole career … I decided right now I’m still young enough to enjoy everything that I made. I’ve got to travel, I want to be with my family.”

Nunes submitted Miesha Tate in July 2016 to win the bantamweight belt for the first time, and she went on to sensationally knock out Cris Cyborg in 51 seconds to add the featherweight belt in December 2018.

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