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Amanda Nunes: 'I Want to Fight Cyborg Tomorrow'

It was inevitable, once you stop and think about it. An aggressive Brazilian fighter in the Strikeforce 145-pound women's division comes in and knocks out her opponent in the first round of her Strikeforce debut, and the questions about (not to mention comparisons to) Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos start up before the cheers even die down.

That part didn't particularly surprise Amanda Nunes. But after putting away Julia Budd in just fourteen seconds at last Friday's Strikeforce: Challengers event, the irony is that now she has to learn a little patience.

"I want to fight Cyborg tomorrow, but my manager and trainers feel like I need to gain a little more experience before I fight for the championship," Nunes told MMA Fighting via email this week. "I've only been training MMA for three years and I am still learning every day. The day I step in the cage with Cyborg, I will be 100% prepared."

Nunes, a 22-year-old fighter with a 6-1 pro record in MMA and the terrifyingly specific nickname "Lioness of the Ring," said she started out in jiu-jitsu four years ago when her older sister brought her into an academy to "teach me some discipline." Two weeks after stepping on the mat for the first time, Nunes said, she flung herself into her first competition.

After two years of working her way up the ranks in Brazil she made her American debut for Strikeforce, even though she might have been a tad suspicious of the organization's motives when she was matched up against Budd, who holds several Muay Thai titles and a decision win in kickboxing over Gina Carano.

According to Nunes, Budd "was actually the favorite and Strikeforce brought me in as a opponent for her to build her record up."

But once Nunes charged across the cage and unloaded with a vicious combination that put Budd on her back, that notion was quickly replaced with another: could this be the challenger for Santos that Strikeforce has been looking for?

Maybe not yet, said Nunes, but soon.

"I don't think Cyborg has ever felt the aggressiveness and the power that I will bring to her. Cyborg is a huge girl and I am still a small 145[-pounder]. I have only been in America for three months and I just got a strength and conditioning coach. He is telling me that in a year he will have me as big and strong as Cyborg."

That's no easy feat, especially when you consider that Santos has about three inches in height on Nunes. But with as much trouble as Strikeforce has had finding anyone who can give "Cyborg" a challenge, at least it's a place to start. After a highlight-reel knockout of a kickboxing champ, it's safe to say that Nunes is worth keeping an eye on in the division.

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