3 reasons why Megan Anderson could upset Amanda Nunes at UFC 259

Amanda Nunes (left) is the UFC's greatest-ever female fighter.
Amanda Nunes (left) is the UFC's greatest-ever female fighter.
Scott Newman

This weekend sees UFC 259 go down from Las Vegas; in the show’s co-main event, Amanda Nunes defends her UFC Featherweight title against Megan Anderson.

Amanda Nunes is quite rightly recognised as the greatest female fighter in UFC history, so could Megan Anderson really beat her at UFC 259?

Three reasons why Amanda Nunes could lose to Megan Anderson at UFC 259

It might well seem unlikely on the surface of things, and unsurprisingly, Amanda Nunes is currently a massive favourite. But stranger things have happened in the UFC, and to put it simply, you can’t count Megan Anderson out.

Here are three reasons why Megan Anderson could upset Amanda Nunes at UFC 259.

#1 Megan Anderson is the most physically imposing fighter Amanda Nunes has ever faced

Megan Anderson will enjoy a big size advantage over Amanda Nunes this weekend.
Megan Anderson will enjoy a big size advantage over Amanda Nunes this weekend.

Amanda Nunes might be the reigning UFC Featherweight and Bantamweight champion, but physically at least, there’s no question that her best weight class is 135 lbs.

Sure, ‘The Lioness’ probably cuts weight to make the Bantamweight limit, but it’s doubtful that she’d walk around any heavier than the 145 lbs Featherweight limit.

At 5’ 8”, Amanda Nunes is basically the perfect size for a Bantamweight in the UFC. And while she’s a little on the small size for a Featherweight, it hasn’t affected her up to this point.

However, Amanda Nunes’ fight with Megan Anderson at UFC 259 will likely be the first time that the Brazilian would be at a true size disadvantage.

In the UFC, she has fought twice at 145 lbs. The first time came against Cris Cyborg; while the former Strikeforce champion is usually recognised as a physical beast, she didn’t seem bigger than Amanda Nunes at all.

That’s because Cyborg stands at the same height as Nunes – 5’ 8” – and actually had a shorter reach than that of ‘The Lioness’.

And at 5’ 6”, Amanda Nunes’ second Featherweight opponent Felicia Spencer was essentially a blown-up Bantamweight.

Megan Anderson, on the other hand, is genuinely a huge 145 lber. At 6’, she’s four inches taller than Amanda Nunes, and she also enjoys a 72.5” reach – giving her a 3.5” advantage on the Brazilian.

Sure, the Australian hasn’t necessarily been able to use that size and strength in the UFC. She was submitted by Spencer and taken down on multiple occasions by Holly Holm – a gameplan that Amanda Nunes may attempt to replicate at UFC 259.

But in the very least, Anderson could offer the longtime champion a physical challenge she has just never faced in the UFC before. So who knows how she’ll react?

#2 Megan Anderson might be the hardest hitter that Amanda Nunes has faced in the UFC

Megan Anderson has remarkable striking power for a Featherweight.
Megan Anderson has remarkable striking power for a Featherweight.

With all due respect to Cris Cyborg – who had been wrecking opponents for over a decade before running into Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 – Megan Anderson might well turn out to be the hardest hitting opponent that Nunes has ever faced in the UFC.

The Australian has a background in both boxing and kickboxing, and her huge frame means she possesses some seriously heavy strikes in her arsenal.

We saw this in the UFC last February when Anderson brutally knocked out Norma Dumont Viana in the first round of their clash.

The Australian landed a right hand that crumpled Dumont, sending her crashing to the ground. And what made it truly scary was that it didn’t seem to be a haymaker punch – Anderson simply landed directly on the button.

And it wasn’t the first big knockout of Megan Anderson’s career. During her tenure with Invicta FC, she destroyed four straight opponents with her punches, kicks and knees.

The UFC’s female divisions have countless great strikers, but truly concussive ones are few and far between. Even Amanda Nunes, who’s renowned for her striking power, has only outright knocked out three of her 13 victims in the UFC.

It means at UFC 259, Megan Anderson represents a different kind of danger for Amanda Nunes. Of the Brazilian’s previous opponents, only Cyborg really possessed a similar kind of striking power – but she was a much wilder striker than the more technical Anderson.

With this in mind, it’d probably be a bad idea for Amanda Nunes to look to trade off with the Australian.

However, when you consider that ‘The Lioness’ was willing to stand with Cyborg as well as other strikers like Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko, there’s every chance she might di the same with Anderson.

And if she does that, there’s definitely a chance it could lead to her downfall.

#3 Everyone has to lose at some point – even Amanda Nunes

With over a decade of fights under her belt, it wouldn't be surprising to see Amanda Nunes slow down pretty soon.
With over a decade of fights under her belt, it wouldn't be surprising to see Amanda Nunes slow down pretty soon.

The UFC has seen dominant champions and lengthy unbeaten streaks plenty of times before.

Anderson Silva, for instance, famously held the UFC Middleweight crown for the best part of seven years, turning back ten title challengers over the years. And while Ronda Rousey’s reign as UFC Bantamweight champion didn’t last quite as long, there was definitely the feeling that ‘Rowdy’ was invincible during that run.

But all things come to an end. Silva was eventually dethroned by Chris Weidman and saw his UFC career, in general, fall apart shortly after. And Rousey was knocked out by Holly Holm and then only fought once before retiring.

Amanda Nunes is undoubtedly the greatest female fighter in UFC and MMA history. ‘The Lioness’ has only lost once in the UFC, doing so against Cat Zingano at UFC 178. Apart from that sole defeat, she has won 13 UFC fights, beating six former or current UFC champions along the way.

However, Amanda Nunes has also been around for a long time now. Her MMA career began in March 2008 – almost exactly 13 years before UFC 259.

She has been in the UFC for the best part of a decade now. And to show how quickly time flies, that loss to Cat Zingano doesn’t feel that long ago – but it happened in September 2014, over six years ago. In fact, Amanda Nunes’ UFC Bantamweight title reign has been going for almost half a decade now.

Sure, ‘The Lioness’ looked brilliant in her lone fight in 2020 – a lopsided win over Felicia Spencer. But then we have seen UFC fighters grow old overnight before.

Chuck Liddell looked unstoppable when he beat Tito Ortiz at UFC 66, for instance. But just five months later, he fell to ‘Rampage’ Jackson and looked very much past his prime.

There’s no evidence to suggest the same could happen to Amanda Nunes at UFC 259. But at the age of 32, she is getting no younger, and after so much success, it might be difficult for her to stay focused, particularly now that she’s a parent.

Basically, the truth is that everyone, however great they are, has to lose at some point. And so for UFC 259 and Megan Anderson to mark the end of the road for Amanda Nunes wouldn’t be as shocking as it might be sounding at the moment.

Edited by Bhargav


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