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Amanda Ribas compares Amanda Nunes’ loss to hers, confident ‘The Lioness’ will KO Julianna Peña in rematch

Amanda Ribas trains at American Top Team alongside Amanda Nunes' wife Nina Nunes.
Photo via Amanda Ribas

Amanda Nunes and her coaches have yet to come out and weigh in on what went wrong in her UFC 269 loss to Julianna Peña on Dec. 11, and fellow American Top Team fighter Amanda Ribas admits she was surprised by Nunes’ performance in Las Vegas.

Speaking on this past week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, Ribas said she still wonders what happened since she hasn’t spoken with her teammate about the fight, but felt “The Lioness” looked a bit off at T-Mobile Arena.

“Maybe she had sinusitis and nobody knew,” Ribas said. “Imagine getting punched in the face and when you see it, wow. Nobody knows. Maybe she didn’t recovered well from her weight cut. I haven’t spoken with her so I don’t know. Nobody knows what happened that day.

“In my opinion, I thought she looked a little, I don’t know, kind of the same way I was in my fight with Marina [Rodriguez]. I was fine, I was prepared, but [wasn’t 100 percent there]. And sometimes the Venezuelan was more active, wanted it more.”

Peña gave Nunes her first loss in over seven years, snapping a 12-fight winning streak that included MMA superstars like Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Cris Cyborg and Miesha Tate. Ribas expects her friend to rebound with a knockout in an eventual rematch in 2022.

“It was complicated,” she said of her reaction to Nunes’ UFC 269 loss. “I have Amanda at the top, like no one’s getting near her and she’ll beat everybody. To me, she’s very smart in her game and has an extraordinary mind for the fight, so it’s hard to accept when she lost.

“Maybe she’ll accept the loss better than me, as a fan. But nobody knows how she was [feeling] that day. Maybe she didn’t perform that day. Nobody knows what’s going on. It was sad, but I know she’ll bounce back. She’s still the [featherweight] champion. She’s only lost one belt and I’m sure she will reclaim it. [Peña] said she’ll give her an immediate rematch, and I can’t wait for it.”

Ribas is confident that Nunes will once again become a two-division champion in 2022, and hopes to one day join her in that group as the strawweight and flyweight titleholder.

“Imagine that, so fancy,” Ribas said with a laugh. “Four belts.”