Two-division UFC champ Amana Nunes said she wants to wait a little longer before she defends her featherweight title.
Nunes on Monday told CBS Sports she’s out of a planned May 9 UFC event, pushing back her availability to account for a full training camp.
“Actually, I’m not fighting May 9,” Nunes said. “I’m going to fight, [but] I don’t know yet. I don’t think this is the right time for me right now to fight. Let this coronavirus pass a little bit so I can at least have a full camp.
“We can maybe see around June, [but] let’s see what is going to happen. But I’m not fighting (on May 9).”
MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin also confirmed with a person in Nunes’ camp she won’t be fighting on the May 9 card. Felicia Spencer told MMA Fighting she was made aware of the switch “a few days ago.”
Nunes was expected to defend her title against Spencer at the event, which does not have an announced location or venue; UFC President Dana White is keeping plans for the card under wraps. The promotion has been forced to postpone four cards, including the banner pay-per-view UFC 249, due to the pandemic.
Nunes vs. Spencer was one of three title fights planned for the card, which includes an interim lightweight championship bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje and a bantamweight tilt between champ Henry Cejudo and ex-champ Dominick Cruz.
Spencer and her reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment. One coach that spoke to MMA Fighting on the condition of anonymity said Nunes will make a final decision on her future on Monday.
The UFC held a video conference call for fighters this past Friday and on Monday to address concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. White assured any fighter who felt uncomfortable competing at the event would not be required to fight. Publicly, the executive has promised rigorous testing for fighters and staff, though he’s declined to go into specifics about the protocols in play.
As MMA Fighting previously reported this past week, locations in Las Vegas, Florida and Texas were under consideration for the May 9 event. White has also said the promotion’s APEX facility will host weekly events starting next month; he said on the coronavirus call that he’s working with the government to lift a moratorium on the regulation of combat sports events.
Nunes, who said she’s been training under quarantine conditions with a few colleagues at American Top Team, most recently appeared in the octagon this past December at UFC 245, where she defended the bantamweight title with a dominant, if lackluster, win over Germaine de Randamie. Widely considered a pound-for-pound great, she hasn’t lost in the cage in six years and 10 fights, racking up a who’s who list of victims.
Nunes did not write off Spencer as her next fight when she returns.
“I like this matchup a lot,” she said. “I like to fight girls like her – tough, want to fight all the time, she’s not a running fighter. She’s really going to bring that and I love it. That brings out the best in me.”
Nunes has previously clashed with the UFC over her decision not to fight. White took issue with the champ over pulling out of UFC 213 due to abdominal cramping and sinusitis, saying he wouldn’t book her in a PPV headliner again. She went on to headline two PPVs in her next pair of outings.