The City Council declared Tuesday Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes Day in Los Angeles, honoring the UFC’s first openly gay champion.
“(Nunes) is breaking stereotypes of what it means to be a lesbian Latina. She is tough, she is driven, she is talented, and she is a leader,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who introduced the resolution honoring Nunes.
Nunes was raised in Brazil and began taking karate lessons when she was 7 years old. She started boxing and training in jiu-jitsu as a teenager.
Nunes became a professional MMA fighter in 2008, when she was 19 years old. She lost her first fight, then won the next five, all in Brazil. Nunes made her U.S. debut on Jan. 7, 2011, knocking out Julia Budd in 14 seconds in Nashville, Tennessee.
“When I decided to go to the USA, and I stepped into this country, I know my life is going to change. With change, I became a champion and now I can go to my country and help a lot of people there,” Nunes said after being introduced by Martinez.
“I’m so glad to come to this country, and I’m so glad to be here today,” she said.
Nunes said her nickname stemmed from the fact the logo of the first gym she trained at had two lions.
“I was the only female fighter at the gym, so my old coach started to call me `Leoa’ for my aggressive style and it stuck,” Nunes said, referring to the Portuguese word for lioness.
The fighter won the women’s bantamweight title on July 9 by forcing then- champion Miesha Tate to submit three minutes and 16 seconds into the first round.
In the first defense of her title, Nunes recorded a technical knockout of former champion Ronda Rousey in 48 seconds on Dec. 30.
Nunes (14-4-0) is scheduled to make her next title defense on July 8 against Valentina Shevchenko (14-2-0) of Kyrgyzstan. Nunes defeated Shevchenko on a unanimous decision on March 5, 2016, the only victory of Nunes’ career that did not come by a knockout or submission.
—City News Service