Amanda Nunes explains why she’s no longer pursuing the featherweight title

Amanda Nunes won’t be testing the waters at featherweight after all.

The reigning women’s bantamweight queen had been clamoring for the opportunity to add a second title to her resume after Germaine de Randamie became the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion in February.

Nunes holds a win over de Randamie and she wanted the chance to become the first ever two division champion in the UFC women’s divisions.

It appears Nunes has changed her mind now that Cris “Cyborg” Justino has returned to the fold after her provisional suspension was lifted by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) as she was granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption after testing positive for a banned substance.

With Cyborg cleared to fight again, Nunes believes the featherweight division belongs to her fellow country woman and she won’t be pursuing that title any longer.

“I do not intend to fight with Cris”, Nunes told AG Fight in Brazil. “But my intention was to fight [Holly Holm or Germaine de Randamie], who were in my category, but Cris is coming back now and I’m not interested in going up. I want to see her as the champion. To fight with her, I would have to gain weight and gain muscle. I am at 135 pounds. To do such a job (at 145), I would need at least a year.”

Nunes always believed that Cyborg was destined to hold the featherweight title but when she was temporarily suspended it seemed to open the door for a chance to challenge the winner of the UFC 208 main event between de Randamie and Holly Holm.

Now that the path has been cleared for Cyborg to fight for the title at some point in the near future, Nunes will forgo her plans to fight at featherweight and will instead focus on defending her title at 135 pounds.

“That’s what I said: ‘This category is for Cris, but then she tested positive’”, Nunes said. “But then, two girls from the 135-pound class moved up, one was coming off two defeats and the other was not in the rankings. The champion [Germaine de Randamie] is a girl that I have already defeated. I asked to go up because I can be champion in two categories.

“My point of view was that they were two athletes from my category and that Cris was not in the game at the time.”

As far as what comes next for Nunes, she seems most likely to face No. 1 contender Valentina Shevchenko in a rematch later this year. Nunes won the first fight in 2016, but since that time Shevchenko has picked up back-to-back wins over former champion Holly Holm and most recently a submission victory over Julianna Pena.