Amanda Nunes has mauled plenty of opponents in the past but for once in her career she was the undersized underdog going into her UFC 232 fight against Cris Cyborg.
Over the past 13 years, Cyborg has looked virtually unbeatable while destroying every opponent she’s come into contact with including Gina Carano and Marloes Coenen not to mention an undefeated run through her UFC career as well.
Cyborg had barely been made to look human over the past few years much less actually put in danger by any of her past opponents but Nunes had a ton of confidence that she could topple arguably the most dominant women’s champion in mixed martial arts history.
During the course of her run through Strikeforce, Invicta FC and the UFC, opponents have tried all sorts of game plans to deal with Cyborg’s incredible power and striking acumen. Some of attempted to goad her into a technical battle while others have tried getting her to the ground, hoping that might negate some of her power.
No one had ever really come charging at Cyborg like a bull, looking to overwhelm her from the moment the fight started but that’s exactly what Nunes executed to perfection.
As soon as the fight started, Nunes came after Cyborg with a barrage of punches, showing no fear of retribution and looking like she was the fighter who had rolled over all of her competition like a tank for the past 13 years.
The initial flurry saw Cyborg stunned and dropped with a short right hand— and as the crowd erupted at The Forum in Los Angeles, Nunes smelled blood in the water and knew she had to go for the finish.
Nunes swarmed Cyborg while pressing her against the cage and to her credit the former Strikeforce and Invicta champion wasn’t going down without a fight. Cyborg was swinging with everything in her arsenal just trying to back Nunes off but the brawl also left her chin wide open for the counter strikes.
With Cyborg still reeling, Nunes unleashed a flurry of punches with another shot dropping her fellow Brazilian down to one knee.
Cyborg got back up but then quickly ate a monstrous right hand from Nunes that absolutely crumbled her to the canvas as referee Marc Goddard swooped in to save her from any further damage.
The end came at just 51 seconds into the first round.
“I said in my interviews, I train with all those guys at American Top Team, I still move forward when I get hit from those guys,” Nunes explained after her win. “I know she will not be able to knock me out. I was so ready tonight. Nothing was going to stop me from doing what I want to do.
“When she connected with a couple of punches, I said ‘oh I’m going to walk forward now’. She’s strong, she’s powerful, she was a great champion. I respect Cris a lot but I knew tonight was going to be my night. I knew I was going to be the one.”
Nunes knockout not only sent shockwaves throughout the mixed martial arts universe because Cyborg had gone undefeated throughout her entire career after falling in her debut fight all the way back in 2005 but also thanks to the victory adding yet another legend to her resume.
Nunes now holds wins over six current or former UFC and Bellator champions — Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko, Germaine de Randamie and Julia Budd — and that may put her into a category all of her own now as the greatest women’s fighter in history.
For now at the very least, Nunes has earned the most impressive knockout for 2018 after finishing Cyborg in emphatic fashion at UFC 232 in December.