For UFC commentator Jon Anik, he’s watched the two-division UFC champ make the move from contender to champion to one of the greatest-ever. Only Nunes, who just became a mom this past year with wife Nina Ansaroff, knows the true answer of how long she has left competing inside the octagon.
Anik is a betting man, and he might wager Nunes’ career will be over sooner than later.
“I don’t think motivation will ever be an issue when she goes out there and fights because, not unlike a Georges St-Pierre coming back to fight Michael Bisping, you’re putting your legacy on the line in some way shape or form every time you fight,” Anik explained on What the Heck. “I think you’ll continue to get close to, if not the best version of Amanda Nunes, but my informed speculation tells me that she doesn’t have that many more cuts down to 135 pounds, and I don’t know if she has too many more fights.
“We’ve all been privileged to witness the greatness and see all of the history [she’s made] some of us first hand. If you’re asking me over or under three and a half more fights for Amanda Nunes, I’m hopeful we get four more. But I don’t know, man, she’s done it all and she’s gone through a lot of championship training camps and eventually I think the body, and the bank account and the family, will tell you to step away.”
Megan Anderson, who’s as high as a 7-1 underdog in some betting lines, plans to prove that she belongs in the octagon with the all-time great and pull off a massive upset. The featherweight title fight serves as the co-main event for Saturday’s pay-per-view event at the APEX in Las Vegas. Currently, Nunes is as high as a 14-1 favorite against Anderson.
Anderson has won, and finished, three of her last four, which includes stoppages of former title challenger Cat Zingano, Zarah Fairn and Norma Dumont.
Anik understands that Nunes’ resume certainly puts the betting line in perspective, but he also believes that Anderson has pivotal intangibles to make things a bit more interesting than fans are projecting on Saturday night.
“Amanda Nunes is the greatest of all-time, but I don’t believe that this fight is properly priced, per se,” Anik said. “I think there’s value on Megan Anderson at +750, and sometimes I’m hesitant to take that stance as someone calling the fight, but I can say it here.
“Can we start with the fact that she’s six feet tall? She doesn’t have a ton in reach, it’s like three-and-a-half inches at last check that she has, but if you’re trying to come up with a recipe to beat Amanda Nunes, you certainly want a fighter who has a good head coach and a good head on her shoulders. Megan Anderson has that. Maybe she didn’t a couple of years ago when she fought Felicia Spencer, but she’s certainly better for having that experience.
“I love what she brings to the table. I don’t think she’s going to be overwhelmed on the ground. Sometimes you can’t quantify strength until you fight somebody. Dustin Poirier famously said going into the Khabib Nurmagomedov fight that I just don’t know what he’s gonna feel like until I go in there, and he feels like a bear, as we found out. I’m curious to see how it plays out if it does go to the ground, and my expectation is that it will.”
Nunes enters her second featherweight title defense on an 11-fight winning streak. The dual champion captured the belt with a first-round knockout of Cris Cyborg at UFC 232 in December 2018. “The Lioness” successfully defended her 145-pound title in her most recent appearance earning a dominant unanimous decision over Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 in June.
While Nunes’ skillset and finishing abilities standout, what sticks out to Anik are the little things that aren’t often advertised.
“Not only is Amanda Nunes the greatest of all-time because of her skills, but it’s the coachability,” Anik said. “It’s the ability to execute a vision of coaches. It’s the ability to not force the issue, to wait for a mistake. Even though she has all these skills, she’s not going to give you a mistake. Maybe Megan can force Amanda to make a mistake, but if she doesn’t do that, you can understand why she’d be up against it.”