Morning Report: Amanda Nunes says Irene Aldana was original next opponent, believes Julianna Pena might have ‘cried about it’

Morning Report: Amanda Nunes says Irene Aldana was original next opponent, believes Julianna Pena might have ‘cried about it’

Amanda Nunes is ready to move past Julianna Pena.

The first women’s trilogy in UFC was all set to go for UFC 289 on June 10 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. After splitting their series at one win a piece, it was Pena’s turn for redemption as the promotion booked her a third consecutive title tilt opposite the all-time great Nunes.

Nunes’ dominant unanimous decision win in the July 2022 Pena rematch was good enough for fans — and apparently the promotion — to leave the results alone. Unfortunately for Pena, a rib injury forced her out of the scheduled bout, leading to Mexico’s Irene Aldana filling in for what was already being looked at as her original matchup.

“I feel like it’s less heavy,” Nunes told ESPN of the opponent switch. “I always like to train for somebody else. When the third time came it was like, alright, let’s do this again to put her away for good. The last couple days, the news came out, and it was actually the original opponent. Me and the UFC were talking about how they wanted Aldana next and everything was lining up to be Aldana and I don’t know if Julianna cried about it or whatever happened. She ended up getting one more opportunity but now we are here with the original opponent.

“I was ready for either. My job is to defend the belt. Get ready, step in the cage, and get my belt home with me. But at the end of the day, I like to fight a good opponent, a respectable opponent like Aldana. It’s gonna be awesome.”

Pena shocked the world by stopping Nunes with a second-round rear-naked choke submission in December 2021. It’s the first and only title fight loss of Nunes’ illustrious 27-fight career and halted a historic 12-fight stretch of success. The rematch left no doubt who the better of the two was in “The Lionness’” mind, so she’s more than happy to get a fresh face across from her in her first bantamweight title defense since December 2019.

Aldana offers up a crisp and lethal boxing game that the two-division champion knows she’ll need to be mindful of. Mexico as a whole has plenty of momentum in the UFC right now with champions in both flyweight divisions and men’s featherweight. Fresh off of two consecutive impressive knockout wins, Aldana will seek the biggest possible third on her biggest stage yet.

“I feel like she’s more technical, she’s more dangerous, knockout power, all those things,” Nunes said. “I feel like she has very good counterpunches so I gotta watch out for those moments. Also, in the takedowns, she has good transitions when she gets close to the floor.

“I feel like this is a good opponent, I know she’s ready, I know she was training to fight five rounds so I feel like she was ready to go like I am, too. We both have knockout power, and I don’t see this fight really going far.”


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Turnaround. Coach admits UFC 292 situation ‘does kind of suck for’ Aljamain Sterling, but questions champ’s response

Chill. Conor McGregor: UFC didn’t protest BKFC 41 appearance

Next. Israel Adesanya confident Robert Whittaker beats Dricus du Plessis at UFC 290, open to trilogy bout

Memories. Rampage Jackson embarrassed by infamous TUF door destruction incident: ‘That door did not deserve that’

Influenced. KSI not surprised by Salt Papi’s loss to Anthony Taylor: ‘He just got super hyped up

Goals. Ian Machado Garry: ‘I’m going to be the guy that brings the UFC back to Dublin


TUF 31 Clip.

Full fight.

Super RIZIN 2 Trailer.

RIZIN Confessions 125.

Behind the scenes.


Kneebars with Volk and Jones.

Poatan down under.


DAMN! They Were Good. MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew, Shaun Al-Shatti, and Eric Jackman reflect on the career of B.J. Penn.






Good times.


Shooters shoot.


Sit down.


Best in the world.


Benoît Saint-Denis (10-1) vs. Ismael Bonfim (19-3); UFC Vegas 76, July 1

AJ McKee (20-1) vs. Patricky Pitbull (24-11); Super RIZIN 2, July 30

Kyoji Horiguchi (16-9) vs. Makoto “Shinryu” Takahashi (16-1-1); Super RIZIN 2, July 30

Kana Watanabe (11-2-1) vs. Veta Arteaga (7-5); Super RIZIN 2, July 30

Kai Asakura (20-4) vs. Juan Archuleta (28-4); Super RIZIN 2, July 30

Mikuru Asakura (17-3) vs. Vugar Karamov (18-4); Super RIZIN 2, July 30

Tagir Ulanbekov (14-2) vs. Jake Hadley (10-1); UFC Nashville, Aug. 5

Ode’ Osbourne (12-5, 1 NC) vs. Asu Almabaev (17-2); UFC Nashville, Aug. 5


You never want someone to get hurt or anything of the sort, but it sure is nice to see the MMA Gods make a proper change for once. Very much looking forward to those final two UFC 289 fights. Yes, I specifically worded that that way for a reason.

Anyway, how great is that Seika Izawa, eh?

Thanks for reading! Have a happy and safe holiday, everyone.


Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 43% of 545 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Do you want to see Kamaru Usman vs. Khamzat Chimaev next?

Thursday: 57% of 655 total votes answered Yes when asked, “Will Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic end up happening?

Wednesday: 55% of 365 total votes answered “No” when asked, “With UFC Vegas 74 headlined by Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi next weekend, do you think there should be more flyweight main events?

Tuesday: 54% of 621 total votes answered “Israel Adesanya vs. Dricus Du Plessis” when asked, “Which impending middleweight title fight interests you more?

Monday: 73% of 452 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Does it hurt Jones’ legacy to never fight Francis Ngannou?

Today’s exit poll:


Who wins this weekend?

  • 0%

    Kai Kara-France

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Amir Albazi

    (0 votes)

0 votes total Vote Now

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