In the world of mixed martial arts, UFC champ Amanda Nunes is one of the most decorated and respected fighters in the sport. Her latest title defense at UFC 289 was a successful one against Julianna Peña, but as it turns out Nunes wasn’t originally booked to fight Pena — her original opponent was Irene Aldana.
As far as Nunes is concerned, Aldana deserved the title shot all along. Though she might not have been as well-known or had much experience fighting in the octagon, Nunes believes that Aldana’s performance speaks for itself.
“Irene is a real opponent,” said Nunes after her win over Pena. “She deserves this title shot because she has been putting on impressive performances lately and I think she could’ve given me a challenge.”Amanda Nunes
It seems that many fans agree with Nunes’ assessment of Aldana’s abilities in the ring. The Mexican fighter has won three fights since signing with UFC last year and has looked impressive doing so.
Nunes Praises Aldana’s Skill Set
“Irene brings an interesting skill set to every fight,” said Nunes on why she feels like Aldana should have gotten the title shot. “She moves around well and can utilize both striking and grappling techniques effectively which makes her unpredictable and difficult to prepare for.”
Aldana Would Have Provided A Tough Challenge For Amanda
In a fight against Aldana, Nunes would have faced a fighter who could use her striking and grappling skills to create an unpredictable matchup. On the feet, Aldana is dangerous with her punches and kicks, but also has good takedowns when she needs them.
“Irene has shown that she can take the fight wherever she wants,” said Nunes about what Aldana brings to the cage. “That’s why I think it would’ve been an interesting match-up if we had stayed on our original plan.”
Ultimately though, Nunes’ respect for Aldana remains high regardless of whether they ever got in the octagon together or not. She believes that Aldana deserves more opportunities in UFC and should be given a title shot in due time.