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Amanda Nunes: Potential superfight with Cris Cyborg ‘not personal’

Amanda Nunes wants a champion vs. champion superfight with Cris Cyborg.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

BOSTON — Amanda Nunes doesn’t have anything personal against Cris Cyborg.

Cyborg, the UFC women’s featherweight champion, has been a bit brusque toward her bantamweight counterpart. Cyborg first rejected the idea of the two competing in a superfight, then questioned Nunes’ drawing power. Cyborg also insulted one of Nunes’ coaches.

But Nunes has taken it all in stride. And as she hosted an open workout with Nina Ansaroff on Thursday at the UFC Gym in downtown Boston, Nunes said that everything is simply a matter of business, and that maybe she and Cyborg can be friends after they fight.

“Honestly, I think she wants this fight,” Nunes said. “And it’s the fight UFC wants. I want this fight to be good. I don’t have anything against her. At all. I think this is a business deal. After the fight we can have a beer, you know what I mean? It’s not personal.”

Cyborg softened her position on a potential fight with Nunes on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. Rather than flat-out rejecting the bout, Cyborg noted that while her preference is to fight a top featherweight contender, she’d be willing to meet Nunes instead if it was part of a loaded up, major UFC 217-style event.

Nunes, who said she has not been given any sort of concrete indication from the UFC as to whether the bout might happen, says she’s open to it regardless of when and where the fight could be held.

“I think it would be awesome,” Nunes said. ”I would be ready, in Brazil, in Vegas, or whatever. Whatever country, let’s 100 percent make this happen.”

Nunes did make one thing clear: She feels like she’s running out of challenges at 135 pounds. She’s dispatched of Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate and owns two victories over Valentina Shevchenko.

Now Nunes is determined to become a two-weight-class champion, to the degree that she made a test run at getting down to flyweight before the news of the potential Cyborg fight came along.

“First of all, I think about going to 125,” Nunes said. “This was one of my goals, because I want to be a champion in two divisions. And I sit down with my coach and my whole team and we discuss and talk about my next step to go to either one division, 145 or 125. And I decide I’m going to go to 125. ... But then, when I saw my diet, everything I had to go through to go down, I think about it a little bit. Honest to god, it’s hard.”

The flyweight experiment, which Nunes underwent in recent weeks, was abandoned after two days.

“Sometimes for me, [getting to] 135 is a little bit hard,” Nunes said. “Because I don’t have that much fat left. It goes down my muscles, it’s bad. Going to 125, I don’t even want to talk about it. I tried it for two days and after that, I can’t.”

With that out of the question, and with no clear top contender at bantamweight, Nunes sees the Cyborg bout as the right fight to make. Nunes says she expects to make more money for a Cyborg bout than she’s presently making — “We’re going to renegotiate the contract for this fight,” Nunes noted — but she’s going to let her management team handle that and ultimately let the chips fall where they may.

“This is the fight I want, yes,” Nunes said. “Whatever happens, I’m going to be ready.”

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