Amanda Nunes: I beat Germaine de Randamie before, so 'imagine now' at UFC 245

Amanda Nunes believes Germaine de Randamie should be very concerned going into their title rematch at UFC 245.

Nunes (18-4 MMA, 11-1 UFC) and de Randamie (9-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) are set to run it back for the UFC women’s bantamweight title on the Dec. 14 card in a rematch from UFC Fight Night 31 in November 2013, which Nunes won by TKO in less than four minutes.

Both women have since gone on to become UFC champions, but Nunes is the one currently on top of the game, holding both the women’s 135 and 145-pound titles. The Brazilian is in peak form, too, having won five of her past six championship bouts by stoppage.

De Randamie fairly worked her way into the rematch with Nunes, but she’s already been positioned as a sizable underdog by oddsmakers. The champion sees that as justified, because if she was able to beat de Randamie before when she was just getting her footing in the UFC, she expects to do it again as her career fires on all cylinders.

“I feel like she deserves (a title shot),” Nunes said at a recent UFC 245 news conference. “She’s the next one. I respect her a lot. She evolved a lot, but we fought when I was at the beginning of my career with the UFC. Now I’m a double champion, and there’s a lot of experience involved in that. I will bring this belt home with me. No doubt in my mind.

“I know her very well. I beat her when I was at the beginning of my career at the UFC, and I was able to beat her. Imagine now, with the experience I have with these two belts at home. I’m here to make statements, make history and keep putting my name at the top of the mountain. I will prove it once again.”

In the first fight Nunes was largely able to maul de Randamie with grappling and position, finishing the fight with an assault of ground-and-pound from top position. Given de Randamie’s decorated striking background, putting her on the mat is seemingly the best approach to victory.

Nunes wouldn’t tip her hand when it comes to strategy, but she is confident everywhere. She’s scored standing knockouts of Holly Holm and Cris Cyborg in her past two wins, and it seems unlikely that Nunes would fear the striking exchanges with de Randamie.

That doesn’t mean she solely intends to strike, though.

“Germaine is a very good striker,” Nunes said. “If you won’t play her game, she won’t have any chance against you. I’m going to make her play my game, and the fight’s going to play out the way I want. I have all the advantages against her.”

For Nunes, the greatest challenge around competing at UFC 245 might revolve around her weight cut. She said her preference was to defend the featherweight title next, but de Randamie was keen to make it happen at 135 pounds because it’s the more established division.

Nunes obliged but said her goal is still to actively defend both titles.

“I asked for this fight twice to be at 145, but for some reason she don’t want,” Nunes said. “After back-and-forth with UFC, we decided we talk to our coaches, I discussed with my wife and we say, ‘You know what, if we keep fighting to make this happen at 145, we never going to fight. Let’s do this at 135. I’m gonna go down.’ After this one I go up to defend my other one.”

UFC 245 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Nunes vs. de Randamie is one of three title fights on the pay-per-view main card, which follows prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass.

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