From a promotional stand point, UFC 207 is about the return of Ronda Rousey. Nevertheless, there is going to be someone standing across the Octagon from her on Friday night, Amanda Nunes. Right now Nunes is the top Women’s Bantamweight fighter in the world.
Nunes, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion, has received little promotional backing ahead of her first scheduled title defense against Rousey, in the UFC 207 headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas.
After Rousey lost the title at UFC 193 to Holm, Holm turned around and dropped the belt to Miesha Tate at UFC 196 in March. Tate has twice been topped by Rousey, but was battered in an even faster and much more dominant fashion than what Rousey had achieved in either of her victories over Tate, when she took on Nunes at UFC 200 in July.
She’s also a force on the ground and is more than effective at preventing the patented arm-bar submission of Rousey. Her most notorious weakness is conditioning, but against a fellow fast starter like Rousey, that may not come into a play as a fight-deciding factor.
She may not be as marketable as Rousey, but Nunes is deserving of more than what she is got so far. In the weeks leading up to UFC 207, Nunes has only been made available for a couple of media appearances, and Rousey’s decision to embalm a media blackout during fight week has put Nunes in the shadows, also.
The UFC 207 advertisements focus greatly on Rousey. The analysis on FS1 and FOX nearly exclusively slant in Rousey’s favor. The tagline on the event poster even reads “SHE IS BACK” in mammoth, boldface letters.
Nunes is privy to everything that is going on, but is making a conscious decision not to let it change her.
“I feel like UFC want to make it easy for her, so she doesn’t feel like she’s not the champion anymore,” Nunes told reporters. “They want to do this to make her feel strong or something. They try to promote her so she can see that – ‘Ronda, Ronda, Ronda.'”
Nunes doesn’t buy into it.
“I am the champion. Nobody can change this. Nobody can make Ronda the champion. She is not the champion anymore. They want to make things more soft for her.”
She’s still staying focused on the task at hand although Nunes has not received an appropriate promotional push ahead of UFC 207. Rousey has been on Nunes’ radar for so long, and she’s consistently maintained a belief the matchup would eventually come to fruition.
Nunes didn’t think the circumstances of their meeting would place Rousey as the adversary and her as the champion. However, that really doesn’t alter anything in her head.
Rousey is a transcendent star in the sport, and despite her image taking somewhat of a hit with the devastating loss more than a year ago, Nunes understands just how much conquering Rousey would reinforce her status in the sport. She thinks on taking advantage of the specific situation.
“Ronda Rousey is the biggest name and I want to make a statement,” Nunes said. “I’ve been training for this girl my whole career in the UFC. I have a chance to defend my belt against her and show everybody the real champion.”
One shot for the champion to shock the world.
“I want to show everybody I’m here to stay, I’m the best in the world and I’m going to take over and bring this belt back home with me.”