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Amanda Nunes, UFC’s first openly gay champion, wins equality award

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

It's been quite the few months for Amanda Nunes.

The MMA standout beat Miesha Tate by first-round submission at UFC 200 in July to become the first openly gay champion in UFC history. On Saturday, Nunes was honored with the 2016 Equality Visibility Award at the annual Equality California Awards in Los Angeles.

Nunes, 28, accepted the award alongside her girlfriend Nina Ansaroff, who also trains with Nunes at American Top Team in Florida. The honor recognizes those who have brought greater awareness to civil rights issues facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

"When people find out how strong and powerful love is, then this world will be a better place," Nunes said in her acceptance speech. "I want to see this happen one day. I'm going to do everything I can to support this community with a positive presence by sharing my love and showing everyone that I'm happy. My dream has come true and I want to share this with everyone and help a lot of people be themselves. I'm going to keep doing it until the world is better."

Nunes (13-4) has won four in a row, including that finish of Tate to win the UFC women's bantamweight belt. That victory also made her the first Brazilian woman to win a UFC title.

"We're incredibly proud of Amanda and how she lives and breathes the UFC maxim of ‘We Are All Fighters,'" said Ike Lawrence Epstein, the UFC's senior executive vice president and chief operating officer. "As UFC champ, Amanda is a visible figure in the sports world, so her dedication to living authentically is an inspiration to millions of fans around the world. She continues to demonstrate courage both inside and outside the Octagon, and that's what makes her a truly great champion."

Nunes, who could defend her title against Ronda Rousey next, is also an unofficial spokesperson for the UFC's "We Are All Fighters" campaign, which is working in conjunction with The Gay &Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. All proceeds from the rainbow-text t-shirts go to benefit The Center, which supports "supports and promotes activities directed at furthering the well-being, positive image, and human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, its allies, and low to moderate income residents in Southern Nevada," per its website.

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