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Amanda Nunes: First UFC title defense ‘has to be’ against Ronda Rousey

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Amanda Nunes wants to defend the UFC bantamweight championship against Ronda Rousey.

The Brazilian fighter became the UFC 135-pound champion with a devastating first-round victory over Miesha Tate in the main event of UFC 200 in Las Vegas, and recently told Combate that her first title defense "has to be" against the most popular female fighter on the planet.

"I don’t know anything yet, I’m waiting for the call. It’s highly likely, right?" Nunes said. "Those girls are crazy. Juliana Pena says I’m running from her, Valentina Shevchenko also said I’m running from her, and now she’s saying Juliana Pena is running from her, too. I don’t like to play games.

"If they ask me who I want to fight, I’m going to say I want to fight Ronda. I’m not running from anyone, I’m the champion and I can choose who I’m going to fight. I will choose what’s best for me and Ronda would be ‘the’ main fight, that’s why it has to be against her, it has to be with Ronda."

According to Nunes, there’s nothing set yet for her return to the Octagon, but she thinks it’s "highly likely" that she will fight at UFC 207, pay-per-view event scheduled for Dec. 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"I train at American Top Team today, the biggest MMA gym in the world, and it will be complicated to take this belt away from me," Nunes said. "Ronda knows what’s like to have this belt, she knows the power this belt has. I think that’s why she’s taking so long to sign this contract."

Rousey has yet to return to action since losing the UFC title to Holly Holm last November in Australia. Since that date, the bantamweight belt changed hands twice, with Holm losing to Miesha Tate via fifth-round submission, and Tate losing it to Nunes.

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