Meet Amanda Nunes, the fighter who has been largely forgotten in lead-up to UFC 207

December 23, 2016 on ESPN.com

Her nickname is The Lioness.

Fitting, given Amanda Nunes’ tenacity in the octagon, but its origin predates women’s inclusion in the UFC. It was given to her when she was the only woman at her first gym, whose logo was that of two lions. The name stuck, and she made it permanent with a tattoo of a lion on her right shoulder.

Not to mention, she’s powerful. When she walks, each strike of her foot against the concrete is an imposition of her will. She has broad shoulders, her hair is shaved on the sides of her head and long in the middle, and she has a reach of 69 inches, four inches longer than her height. Wearing pink shorts and a mouth guard stamped with fangs, Nunes, 28, radiates toughness.

She’s the defending UFC women’s bantamweight champion — something that has gone forgotten amid the buildup for her next fight, UFC 207. It’s better known as Ronda Rousey’s return.

If Nunes wins, she’ll become the only woman other than Rousey to successfully defend the women’s bantamweight championship and will effectively halt Rousey in her quest to cement herself as the undisputed champion. If she loses, Nunes will be but a footnote in the narrative of “Rousey’s Redemption.” At least for the time being.

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