Cat Zingano earned a shot at Ronda Rousey by beating Amanda Nunes. But Nunes believes she would have been able to better Zingano's showing in the UFC women's bantamweight title fight at UFC 184 in February.
"I think she was not prepared," Nunes told MMAFighting.com. "She didn't have a strategy for this fight. I think she only stepped in the cage and fought and that was it. I know my performance against Rousey, I know I'd be able to do more things, for sure. I think I'd be able to win the fight against Ronda."
Zingano charged Rousey right at the opening bell and went for a flying knee. Rousey caught her, the two flipped over backward and Rousey cinched in an armbar. The bout was over in just 14 seconds.
Zingano told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that she "wouldn't change a thing" about what she did against Rousey. Nunes said she would have had a much different approach, but has come to grips with the fact that she didn't win the fight that could have put her in there with the champ.
"I think everything happens in a life for a reason," Nunes said. "I think I didn't win the fight against Cat, but something will make it better. To be able to step in the cage against Ronda, I have to fix a couple things. I'm OK. I take my time. I'm going to be in the top five. I'll wait for my time. I'm in no rush."
Nunes (10-4) got herself back on with a first-round TKO win over Rousey's close friend Shayna Baszler at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare last month. The Brazilian was dominant in that fight, battering Baszler to the body and the leg. Actually, Nunes was pretty darn good in the first round against Zingano, too, nearly finishing things. Zingano rallied to finish by TKO in the third, though.
Nunes, 26, said she didn't feel like herself against Zingano. She had a bad camp and wasn't able to fuel her body as well as she would have liked. That might have caused her to gas out.
"I feel like my diet for that fight, that camp, it wasn't a good diet," Nunes said. "It cost me the fight. My strength and conditioning, I didn't have it."
There will definitely be more chances for her in the future. The women's bantamweight is searching for new contenders. Bethe Correia gets Rousey next at UFC 190 on Aug. 1. Barring Cris "Cyborg" Justino making 135 pounds, it's not set in stone who would be next if Correia can't win -- and she's a massive underdog. The winner of a planned fight between Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye would have the inside track.
Nunes doesn't necessarily think Correia was deserving of the shot, but she's happy for her fellow Brazilian.
"Maybe UFC gives to her one more fight, maybe a top-five girl, like I did," Nunes said. "I fought Cat, she was a top contender at the time. I think UFC before the fight with a Ronda she was supposed to fight a top-five, but it didn't happen. I'm OK with that. I don't have a problem."
Nunes wants a top-five opponent next. That could be someone like Sara McMann or the winner of a fight between Alexis Davis and Sarah Kaufman at UFC 186 on April 25 in Montreal. If she wins against someone like that, Nunes thinks she'll get Rousey.
"Depending on the opponent and the way I fight, too," Nunes said. "A knockout, a good win, I think I'll have the title shot, the chance."