clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Amanda Nunes reacts to becoming the first openly gay UFC champion

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS — Amanda Nunes made history on a big night.

With her win over Miesha Tate, Nunes became the first openly gay champion ever in the UFC. The talented Brazilian submitted Tate in the first round with a rear-naked choke in the main event of UFC 200 on Saturday to take home the women's bantamweight title.

"It's amazing," Nunes said of becoming the UFC's first openly gay champ. "The most important thing is I'm happy with my life. That's the most important thing."

Nunes, 28, hurt Tate early and often with hard punches and finished in just 3:16.

Her title victory comes less than a month after the LGBTQ community was targeted in the largest mass shooting in United States history, when 49 were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

"It's very sad," Nunes said. "I wish these things didn't happen anymore. Peace in the world is very important. I don't think the USA is gonna let this happen anymore. It's gonna stop."

The UFC is doing its part to support the LGBTQ community as well with the new "We Are All Fighters" t-shirts just printed. All proceeds from shirt sales go to the LGBTQ Center in Las Vegas. UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and Mark Hunt wore the shirts this week. Anthony Birchak was also promoting it ahead of his fight.

"Just as it takes courage to step into the Octagon, it takes courage to stand for what you believe in -- and we're proud to stand with members of the LGBTQ community in their fight for equality," UFC senior executive vice president and COO Lawrence Epstein said in a statement. "As friends and allies of the LGBTQ community, our hope is to raise awareness and help support community groups like the LGBTQ Center that directly impact LGBTQ individuals."

Nunes (13-4) has won four in a row after a loss to Cat Zingano in 2014. Her game has made great strides since she began training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. She is now the illustrious gym's second UFC champion after Robbie Lawler. Nunes also credits a lot of her development to training partner — and girlfriend — Nina Ansaroff, who fights in the UFC's women's strawweight division.

"Nina is the best training partner I've ever had in my life," Nunes said. "This girl is going to be the next UFC champion. I'm telling you. Look at her, she's shy. This girl has so many talents.

"She means everything to me. This girl, she helps me with everything. ... I love her."

Nunes said she'll be back in the gym soon waiting to see what's next. She's also planning a trip to visit her family back in Brazil. This is something she'll relish at least for a time before getting back to work.

Many people doubted her against Tate — she was a sizable underdog — but Nunes had been saying for a long time that she could beat "Cupcake." She was proven correct.

"My plan for this fight was working my patience," Nunes said. "Me, my coach, my whole camp [was spent] working on my patience. I knew the whole time I had everything to beat Miesha. Only take my time, wait for the best moment. I did it tonight."

And she became a pioneer in the process.