“The Lioness” has become the new face for Women in the UFC.
“The Lioness” Amanda Nunes had a phenomenal year in 2016, ending the year as the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Nunes would fight top contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196 and win by Unanimous Decision, with Nunes being dominate during the fight. Miesha Tate who became the Women’s Bantamweight Champion at the same Pay Per View, would grant Nunes an opportunity to fight for the title at UFC 200. Some fans critiqued the choice of picking Nunes as a challenger, because at the time she was still unknown to the general public.
Jon Jones would get pulled from the main event of UFC 200, due to a failed drug test and Nunes vs Tate would become the new main event of the card. This marked a huge growth in MMA, because Women were headlining a historic card for the UFC. Nunes would beat Tate in the first round by submission via Rear Naked Choke and became the new Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Nunes would be recognized as the first openly gay champion in the UFC and has become a leader in the LGBT Community.
Nunes would fight returning Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 in the main event for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Rousey would become the center of attention from both the media and UFC, with most of the advertisement being about the return of Rousey. Many had critiqued the UFC decision about not promoting Nunes as well as Rousey. Nunes would dominate and knockout Rousey 48 seconds into the fight to retain her championship.
Nunes has become the leader of the Women’s Bantamweight Division and has gained popularity as the year went on in 2016. Nunes went from being a unknown contender to becoming a star in the UFC. Being the main event of UFC 200 and beating Rousey in 48 seconds, had helped elevate Nunes popularity and showcased the dangerous knockout power that makes Nunes exciting to watch. The question going in to 2017 is who in the division can beat Nunes, as Nunes prepares to have another dominate year.