Amanda Nunes: Ronda Rousey ‘knows I’m better than her’

Amanda Nunes often says that she’s been preparing to fight Ronda Rousey ever since she arrived in the UFC.

Now that might sound like promotional hyperbole, but anytime Nunes has been asked about Rousey in the past, it was a matchup that she felt confident she could win.

Whether that meant matching Rousey’s Olympic level judo, her submission arsenal or the way she comes sprinting out of the gate in every fight, Nunes has long believed she had an answer for anything in her arsenal.

Now she gets the chance to prove it on Friday night at UFC 207.

“Obviously I’m very confident,” Nunes told FOX Sports ahead of the event. “I know what I’m capable of doing and I’ve been training. I know everything Ronda Rousey’s going to bring to the table and I’m ready for her.

“This camp we pretty much are getting everything ready — striking, ground, judo defense, judo attacks, positioning and everything. I’m going to be ready for her.”

In the lead up to the fight, Nunes hasn’t had to deal with any mind games from Rousey because the former champion has gone virtually silent outside of a couple of interviews she did in the weeks leading up to the event.

The only real swipe Rousey took at Nunes was her comment to Conan O’Brien about the former champion predicting a first round finish in their fight

“Well she kind of has to say that because everyone knows she gasses out in the second so she has to tell herself that,” Rousey said. “What else is she going to tell herself? She has to sleep at night somehow.”

Nunes couldn’t help but laugh at the comment because she’s been criticized for her conditioning before and it’s something she addressed extensively ahead of her title fight against Miesha Tate at UFC 200.

In the champion’s mind, Rousey is just picking at the one thing that has slowed Nunes down in the past because when it comes to skills versus skills — there is no comparison.

“Honestly, always my opponents have something to talk about me. My last opponent Miesha Tate, she said she’s going to break me mentally. Now Ronda Rousey,” Nunes said. “If I finish these people in the first round it’s because I don’t need to go to the second.

“Honestly she did this interview because she doesn’t have anything else to talk about me because she knows I’m the best. She knows I’m better than her. That’s why she made these excuses. I know I’ll be ready for five rounds but I don’t think this fights going to go that far, but if does, I’m going to be ready.”

Zuffa LLC via Getty Images/Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

While Nunes is happy to face questions about her past struggles with conditioning, she knows Rousey has a lot more to answer for after suffering a brutal knockout to Holly Holm last November before she disappeared for nearly a year.

Some fighters never recover from a bad knockout and Nunes can’t help but wonder what will happen when Rousey tastes her power when she connects with the first punch at UFC 207.

“I’m going to look for my best punches. I want to see this too, how she’s going to take it,” Nunes said. “I’m curious, too. I think it’s going to be surprising how she’s going to react. I really want to see how she reacts after I connect on a couple of punches on her. If she reacts very well, I will still have my plan ‘B’. I have my strategy.”

During her rise up the ranks, all the way to the title fight win in July, Nunes has proven to be a very tough out for all of her opponents. Even in her lone loss in the UFC against Cat Zingano, Nunes was absolutely battering the former title challenger in the first round before fading late in the fight.

Throughout her UFC career, Nunes has knocked fighters down on the feet and submitted them on the ground.

So when it comes to options to finish Ronda Rousey, Nunes isn’t bold enough to call her shot but she knows without a doubt that she’s going to leave the Octagon with that title belt still firmly wrapped around her waist.

“I think I have ways to win everywhere. Of course, Ronda’s a pretty tough opponent but so is every single girl in this division — but I’m better than all of them. I will show again one more time I am the best in this division. I’m ready to show this and make a statement to this division,” Nunes said.

“It could be a TKO, it could be a submission, whatever she gives to me. Whatever mistake she makes, I will take over this fight in the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth (round). MMA is a box of surprises. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I am going to finish her but I don’t know when, the first, the second, I don’t know. I always have opportunities to finish in the first round. If she gives me the opportunity, I will take it.”