Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes is coming off yet another dominant win and it has left the MMA world wondering, who’s next for the current double champ?
After defeating Felicia Spencer convincingly at UFC 250, Nunes has continued her streak of definitively beating any and all contenders for her 135 and 145-pound belts.And while there are still hungry contenders in both divisions that Nunes has yet to face, it appears as though no one will ever beat her. With that said, Nunes will continue to defend this championship which leaves us wondering who the next contender will be. Here are some options.
Seeing as Nunes has just defended the Featherweight Championship, it is likely that her next fight will be in defense of the Bantamweight strap. But just for clarity’s sake, when Nunes does defend her Featherweight Championship again, it will most likely be against Megan Anderson. The 10-4 Anderson is currently on a two-fight win streak, last losing to the women who just challenged Nunes, Felicia Spencer.
While a two-fight win streak may not be impressive enough to grant a fighter a title shot, the women’s 145-pound division is certainly thinner than most in the UFC so when a new contender arises, they are often given a shot at the champion.
With 145 pounds out of the way, let’s now discuss Nunes’ potential opponents for her next 135-pound defense.
The most likely opponent for Nunes at Bantamweight will be Aspen Ladd.
Ranked at number three in the Bantamweight division, Ladd is currently on a one-fight win streak and will face Sara McMann next on June 27th. With a victory here, Ladd would position herself for a championship fight with Nunes later in the year. Ladd’s only career loss came at the hands of the woman Nunes defeated in her last 135-pound defense, Germaine De Randamie.
The messiness begins if Ladd were to lose this fight. A loss here would leave the UFC with no clear contender for Nunes at 135. Looking at the UFC Bantamweight Rankings, Nunes has already defeated both fighters ranked at one and two: the aforementioned De Randamie and Holly Holm respectively. As discussed, Ladd is currently ranked third and in this scenario, she has lost her last fight. Number four Julianna Pena last fought almost a calendar year ago and has no fights scheduled. Number five is Irene Aldana. She is currently on a two-fight win streak but is scheduled to fight number two ranked Holly Holm in August. She will need to win that fight and then recover, which would leave Nunes without an opponent for a substantial amount of time if Aldana were to win and be named number one contender.
Number six, and the most likely backup plan to Ladd would be Raquel Pennington. Pennington was also previously defeated by Nunes brutally. Pennington is coming off of a loss to Holly Holm back in January but is scheduled to fight number 10 ranked Marion Reneau this Saturday, June 20th. A win here may grant her a rematch with Nunes should Ladd lose on June 27th.
After that, the rankings begin to call for each fighter record at least one more win before stepping up to Amanda Nunes. If both Ladd and Pennington lose, her next opponent at 135 will most likely be the winner of Holly Holm and Irene Aldana.
However, if Ladd and Pennington do both lose, don’t be surprised if Nunes defends her Featherweight strap in back-to-back fights while the Bantamweight division works itself out.
Who do you think Nunes should face next?
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