Amanda Nunes, “The Lioness,” has garnered a lot of attention lately, and for plenty of good reasons. The UFC, in their 2021 rankings, gave the top spot to Nunes in both their Women’s Bantamweight and Women’s Pound for Pound categories. She is a fierce competitor who has received a lot of notice not only in the world of UFC MMA fighting but outside of the ring as well.
When you begin reading articles about Nunes, you realize there is something profoundly special about this woman. You can’t help but get swept up in her openness, her passion, and her confidence. And it is in doing more background on “The Lioness,” we found three lessons we can all learn from Amanda Nunes.
#1: Be Who You Are
There is an awful lot of pressure on women to live up to certain standards in American culture. We are bombarded by airbrushed pictures of rail-thin models to show us the level of beauty and femininity that every woman should strive for. And with all of this pressure, women can forget that it’s OK to be who they are, no matter the kickback or consequences. This is the first lesson we’ve learned from Nunes.
You see, Nunes is openly gay. She is the first gay champion in UFC history. Nunes even used one of her post-fight press conferences to comment on the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. She and her partner, fellow UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff, are very public about their relationship, and the two welcomed a child in 2020. Nunes even brought their baby girl to Las Vegas for UFC 259 and was glowing as she proudly showed off their little Bambina.
In addition to her fighting skills, Nunes has won the hearts of many of her fans by being an avid animal lover. Her pets are a big part of her family, and her social media is filled with pictures of her dog and her hedgehog, Valasco.
But the one thing that makes Nunes so unique is how she enthusiastically displays who she is through her lioness tattoo. Nunes earned that moniker as she came up through the ranks in Brazilian MMA, and it became such a part of who she is that she has a large lioness tattoo on the upper right portion of her back. This custom-made tattoo shows half of Nunes’s face with the other half that of a lioness. This ownership of her unique identity is a true indication of someone who is being who they are and are not afraid to show it. Her identity has become so well-known that even Reebok and UFC merchandise carry her moniker.
#2: Follow Your Passion
We are all born with certain gifts and abilities. Many times, if we develop those gifts, they soon become passions. You will often find that many motivational speakers encourage you to follow your passions to find true happiness in life. Too often, people follow a set path of education or vocation because that’s what they were “supposed to do” instead of what they were meant to do. In the case of Amanda Nunes, it was clear early on what her gifts were and what her eventual passion would be.
Nunes started training in karate when she was just four years old. She began boxing at 16 and became a brown belt in Judo and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Following her passion, Nunes went professional at the age of 19 and has been a force to be reckoned with for over a decade.
Now you have to understand that MMA wasn’t even part of the UFC brand when Nunes started. Fighting was strictly within the Brazilian MMA circles, and women fighting in the sport were largely unheard of. So to aspire to be a professional combat fighter had to seem ludicrous to those in Nunes’s circle of family and friends. But that didn’t matter to Nunes. Fighting was in her blood, and it was what she was going to do.
#3: Never Give Up
In her debut MMA fight in Salvador, Brazil, in 2008 at Prime: MMA Championship 2, Amanda Nunes lost the fight in just 35 seconds when her opponent, Ana Maria, forced her to submit. Many would have given up at that point, thinking they may not be cut out for professional fighting, but Nunes used that defeat to fuel a fire and, in just two months, was back in the ring. This time, she exploded into her opponent, Paty Barbosa, at Demo Fight 3. The beating was so fierce that Barbosa’s corner threw in the towel after just 11 seconds.
Nunes went on to be the first woman to hold two UFC division championships at the same time. She originally won the Bantamweight title from Miesha Tate at UFC 196 and has doggedly defended the title against all comers, including Ronda Rousey, for well over 1,614 days, a UFC Women’s Championship record.
Working Hard to Be the Best!
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