Aldana: Sharing octagon with Amanda Nunes at UFC 289 ‘biggest accomplishment ever’


Irene Aldana is pleased to face Amanda Nunes for the first time in a title match for the UFC bantamweight division.

On June 10 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Aldana (14-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) will replace the injured Julianna Pena against Nunes (22-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC).

The fact that Nunes, who is also the UFC women’s featherweight champion, is regarded as the best female fighter of all time presents Aldana with a rare opportunity.

Aldana declared at the UFC 289 press conference, “I’m fighting the greatest of all time.” I hold Amanda in high regard. We’re prepared, and I appreciate the chance.

Which would be more important for Aldana, defeating the best athlete ever or winning the UFC championship?

“Having the opportunity is already big for me,” Aldana said. “To be able to perform and to share the octagon with Amanda is already the biggest accomplishment ever.”

It won’t be simple to unseat Nunes. If Aldana prevails, she will become the fourth Mexican fighter to win a UFC championship this year, joining colleague Alexa Grasso, Brandon Moreno, and Yair Rodriguez.

Aldana acknowledged that as a major motivator for her. “Definitely that’s a big motivation for me. Having three Mexican champions here, having Alexa as my teammate as a flyweight champion, this is a great time for Mexicans. I’m glad to have the opportunity to also represent Mexico here.”

The champion was shocked to learn that Aldana wasn’t the UFC’s first pick to take against Nunes. Aldana was scheduled to meet Raquel Pennington in the main event of UFC Fight Night 224 on May 20, however she changed her opponent when Pennington was pushed out of the fight to take on Nunes.

Aldana stated, “I wasn’t mad at all. Julianna deserves it too, and I was OK with that. If I had to have another fight just to get to the title shot, I was OK with that. It doesn’t matter to me at all, but I’m glad the opportunity came.”

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