Amanda Nunes became a double champion in the UFC after reclaiming her bantamweight belt with a shock victory over American Juliana Pena on Sunday (AEST).
Looking to avenge her shock loss to Pena last December, the Brazilian quickly took control after surprising her opponent with a southpaw stance.
Considered the greatest female fighter the sport has ever seen, Nunes knocked Pena down three times in the second round.
The 34-year-old counterattacked perfectly in the second period, landing two rights in the first 90 seconds of the round that put Pena on her back.
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Nunes recorded a unanimous decision victory (50-44, 50-44, 50-43) to become a dual champion for the second time – and is still the only woman to do so.
It was an emphatic victory, but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at her at the post-fight press conference.
The Brazilian was in a crutch before the media, but as UFC president Dana White said earlier, her opponent was much worse.
“Juliana lost a big chunk of her forehead. Now she’s going to see a plastic surgeon,” White said after UFC 277.
“I don’t know if you take some time to heal. She was really beat up tonight.
It was like five or six balls in the first two rounds. She was hurt.
“She needs to take a little break and relax, spend some time with her son and then we’ll go.”
Pena showed just how tough she was that night in Dallas when she refused to back down from the Lioness who was considering taking her crown.
White believed he was “totally superior” to Nunes, who holds the featherweight title.
“I thought it was completely over the top. There were five balls in the first two overs,” he added.
“There are big submission attempts and knocks. It’s not even comparable.
“Juliana is tough as nails and her will to win is second to none. She wanted to win. As dominant as she was and as dominant as she was tonight, I don’t think she’s anywhere close and in shape. It was a complete shutdown.
“It was an absolute dominating performance.”
Nunes said she felt “awesome” after the bout and believes she could go on for another round or two.
She couldn’t even seem to see out of her right eye, but that didn’t stop her from smiling as she contemplated the night.
“It was all about the game plan tonight. Even Nunes said after the fight, ‘She’s going to be crazy, she’s going to hook up and she’s going to bring everything.’
“I know I’m stronger than her. My fight is better than hers. My jujitsu, my ground game. Like today, I have to be right about everything.
“My body was amazing, I could go six laps, seven laps no problem. Especially when I started doing minor damage to my elbows.
“I have a lot of respect for her. I have no bad blood. She helped me a lot. I like the challenge. I feel like I’m working with the challenge.
“If I don’t have challenges that push me, scare me. Juliana is a very good threat so she brings out the best in me when I feel trapped. So it’s like, ‘Oh s*** she can do this.’
“I turn her on in those moments, that’s why I love the fighters who bring out the best in those moments. Say *** Say this, say all these. i like this.”