Throughout fight week, cameras caught Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington randomly meeting up in Brazil.
Despite the obvious mutual respect, Nunes still had to go to battle with Pennington Saturday night at UFC 224 for her bantamweight title. She did, stopping the challenger to defend her title for a third time in Brazil.
Nunes, joined by her girlfriend Nina Ansaroff, asked Tecia Torres, the fiance of Pennington, to join her in the Octagon. Torres has trained Nunes in the past.
“I never fight like nobody is afraid,” Nunes said. “I respect Raquel so much and Tecia trained me. This was very hard for me to go and see them. It was very hard to fight; the most hard fight in my career because we have respect. I like these girls so much, but I wanted to defend the belt and I had to do it.
“We are friends, going to celebrate and have a beer.”
The Brazilian native finally forced the ref to step in and stop the contest in the fifth after landing a flurry of strikes. The win put her in a tie for the most victories in the UFC’s female divison and the finish passed the previous record set by Ronda Rousey.
Nunes has now won seven consecutive fights and is 16-4 overall in her career.
“It was amazing,” Nunes said. “I live in the U.S. but I am here representing Brazil. I knew I was going to give my mother a present.
“UFC, Dana White thank you so much for changing my life,” Nunes said.