“I’m interested in fighting the girl who has the belt now, de Randamie,” Nunes said. “Because I’d rather beat her. If UFC wanted to give me the opportunity to go up now, yes I would have taken it. Later is another thing.”
While others have demurred about talking about a fight with Cyborg, Nunes was candid. Preparing for a bigger, dangerous opponent — Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter ever and walks around 170 pounds — would take plenty of preparation, she said.
“I want to see Cyborg with this belt,” Nunes said. “I’m not interested in fighting her. I’m not interested in fighting her. I’m interested in fighting the girl who has the belt now. After my next fight, we’ll see what happened.
“I’d have to do a lot of things to fight Cyborg. Cyborg is way heavier, way bigger than me. I’d have to change all my training style to fight Cyborg. This is another thing I’d have to go over with my coaches.”
Right now, Nunes is focused on defending her bantamweight title against rival Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas. The two exchanged heated words at the UFC Summer Kickoff press conference last week and Nunes shoved Shevchenko with her fist during their faceoff. Nunes said Shevchenko touched her first.
“If they give me opportunity before Valentina to fight de Randamie, I’d love to,” Nunes said. “But now I have another goal. This is the fight I’m scheduled for.”
De Randamie defeated Holly Holm in the inaugural featherweight title fight at UFC 208 in February. Cyborg, though the clear best 145-pounder in the world, was not in that bout due to issues recovering from her weight cut last September and a suspension from USADA, which was later wiped clean due to a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
The future of the featherweight division is up in the air. Cyborg wants to fight at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif., but does not have an opponent at this point. De Randamie is taking some time off from the Octagon and her return date is unclear.
If Nunes beats Shevchenko, though, she said she could make a move and it could even be to the UFC’s new flyweight division. Nunes is also not completely ruling out featherweight in the future.
“After my fight, things can happen,” Nunes said. “I might go down as well to 125 and try it first in the gym to see how it goes. We’ll see. After this fight, anything can happen. Because I cleaned out the division already. I beat all the tops in this division before I got the belt. When I got the belt, I beat the best one. After the next fight for sure I’m gonna do something else. Try to do something else, go down, go up. We’ll see.”