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Amanda Nunes: Dana White ‘wants to end’ featherweight division but ‘as long as I’m champion, I want it open’

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Amanda Nunes holds two UFC belts since she knocked out Cris Cyborg at featherweight.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Amanda Nunes isn’t ready to say goodbye to her champ-champ status any time soon.

The UFC queen, who prepares to put her 135-pound belt on the line against Julianna Pena on Aug. 7 after successfully defending the 145-pound throne against Megan Anderson in March, said the company doesn’t sound that interested in keeping the featherweight class around.

“Dana [White] wants to end this division, but I told him that, as long as I’m champion, I want it open,” Nunes told Combate recently. “I think the issue with the featherweight [division] is talent. I think it’s hard to find talented girls in this division. I could be wrong, but we’re seeing that the girls that fought Cris [Cyborg] needed a little bit more. Not that they are bad athletes, but they needed some work.”

Nunes says “it’s hard to find” featherweights to build a division in the UFC. The company doesn’t have half-dozen female 145-pounders on its roster currently, and “The Lioness” feels Megan Anderson might be one of the only natural featherweights. Nunes fought three times at featherweight in the UFC, defeating Cyborg, Anderson and Felicia Spencer.

“She’s huge,” Nunes said of 6-foot contender Anderson. “We look at her and she looks like a giraffe [laughs]. But are lionesses afraid of giraffes? They go right for the neck.”

Even though Nunes is critical of the lack of talent in the division and defends it stays around so she can hold multiple belts “forever,” the Brazilian fighter doesn’t mind seeing the UFC shopping around for contenders instead of building an actual weight class.

“I’ll wait, I’m sure they will find someone,” she said. “They did that with Cris, brought in girls from God knows where to fight her. And even bantamweights will want to move up in weight so they get more comfortable. It’s better that way for me. Having an actual division or not, it doesn’t matter to me.”

Nunes is slated to defend the bantamweight gold opposite Pena at UFC 265 after revealing she has turned down a The Ultimate Fighter coaching gig opposite Pena so she wouldn’t stay away from her newborn Reagan at the moment.

“[Pena] is reckless,” Nunes said of her upcoming challenger. “She takes you down but gets lost there. She doesn’t have a tight jiu-jitsu, and that’s when I plan on finishing the fight. She will come forward, pressure me and hope for the best, and that’s when I’ll use my angles, my kicks, my front kicks, my calf kicks, my knees, my elbows… Everything will be on point to use when she goes crazy.”