The 2010s, arguably the most important decade in the history of mixed martial arts, is coming to a close. One reason why the past 10 years have been so pivotal to the sport is the sheer talent that exists across all divisions – men and women, from flyweight (which didn’t even exist until February 2012) to heavyweight. Simply put, the number of great fighters to grace cages and rings across the world never has been higher.
Here at MMA Junkie, we’ve put together a staff-wide, composite ranking of the top 10 fighters of the past decade, which we’ll reveal Monday-Friday until Dec. 27. Today, we reflect on No. 6: Amanda Nunes.
The consensus greatest female fighter of all time, UFC featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has an undeniable resume.
Joining a select few to hold two UFC titles simultaneously, Nunes (19-4 MMA, 12-1 UFC) has taken out every notable name and champ in the organization, and capped off the decade with her 10th straight win.
Nunes defeated former UFC featherweight champ Germaine de Randamie via unanimous decision at UFC 245, notching her fifth title defense at 135 pounds. But before de Randamie came a long list of top-ranked fighters whom Nunes dispatched of, one after the other.
“The Lioness” started out her UFC tenure in 2013 by compiling a 5-1 record, which included a win over current UFC flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.
That earned her a title shot vs. then champ Miesha Tate at UFC 200, where Nunes scored the biggest win of her career to date, a dominant first-round finish to capture the UFC 135-pound title.
She then welcomed back returning former UFC bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 in what ended up being a rude welcoming for Rousey. Nunes felt disrespected going into the fight and came out with a point to prove. She once again scored a first-round finish, raining a barrage of punches on Rousey until the referee had to pull her.
After that came the rematch with Shevchenko at UFC 215 in a tightly contested battle where Nunes was able to narrowly get the win, momentarily closing the chapter on their rivalry. Then came her third title defense, when Nunes defeated Raquel Pennington via fifth-round TKO in her home country of Brazil, which led to the biggest fight of her career.
Nunes moved up in weight to take on the unstoppable Cris Cyborg at UFC 232, in attempt to capture a second title at 145 pounds. And in a shocking performance, Nunes knocked out Cyborg with a huge overhand right, handing Cyborg her first loss in over 13 years to capture two titles simultaneously. Another first-round finish for Nunes, which cemented her in many people’s eyes as the greatest female fighter in history.
Riding high from her win over Cyborg, it was hard for Nunes to top that performance heading into her fight with another former champion in Holly Holm at UFC 239. But Nunes was able to knock her out with Holm’s patented head kick in the first round for her fourth successful title defense at 135 pounds.
It was a fantastic decade for Nunes, who finished the decade strong with her fifth title defense over de Randamie, taking out every top-level fighter and big name available to her.
And at only 31, she’s not done yet.