Just after successfully defending her UFC women’s bantamweight title against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro, Amanda Nunes confirmed she believes Ketlen Vieira is next in line for an opportunity.
While it’s reassuring for Vieira to hear the champion acknowledge her by name, she also fears that former women’s bantamweight champion and current women’s featherweight contender Holly Holm will get the nod first.
Holm comes hot off a unanimous decision win over Meagan Anderson at UFC 225 earlier this month. Vieira’s worst fears may have been realized, as Nunes Tweeted out the following after seeing The Preacher’s Daughter’s performance:
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Vieira commented on the possibility of getting leapfrogged by Holm for a 135-pound title shot:
”My team and I worked really hard for this opportunity,” Vieira told MMA Fighting. “They want to put her and Holly, but we’ve worked hard to get there. If I’m the No. 2 in the ranking that’s because of my work, not because the UFC kept me there like they did with Holly Holm. I have a lot of respect for Holly Holm, she was the champion. I respect every fighter, but you can’t simply move up and down in weight and leapfrog me. The only girl she’s beaten recently at bantamweight is Bethe Correia, who I have a lot of respect for as well, but she’s the No. 10 in the ranking.
“(Holm) had two losses, beats Bethe and stays at No. 1? That’s illogical. (Nunes’ team) say she’s (next because she’s) the No. 1, but it’s easy to stay at No. 1 beating the No. 10 and the UFC keeping you there. Amanda Nunes said I would be next. I honor my word, I have character, my family taught me to honor my word. As a champion and an example for thousands and thousands of Brazilians, she should honor her word. If she had no interest in fighting me, she shouldn’t have said many, many times that I was next. I’m coming off a win over Cat Zingano, the only woman to beat her in the UFC.
“I wasn’t out there saying I was next, she said it, she said I deserved it because I was coming off a win over Cat Zingano. I’m coming off four wins in the UFC. Four. Four! It looks like Holly Holm’s record has chickenpox with all those red spots. The UFC is really trying to benefit her. She goes up and down in weight, does whatever she wants, and every time she fights is a title fight now? She fought (Germaine) de Randamie, she fought Cyborg, and now she wants to come back to 135? That’s not fair to me and other bantamweights. It’s disrespectful. Amanda has only defended her belt three times.
“There are good athletes in the division. That’s not cool. My team is with me, they believe I’m ready for a title fight. I’ve been evolving a lot in the grappling and striking area. I’m only 26. The longer it takes, I’m only getting better. I’m saying I deserve it because she said I would be next, and now Holly wins a fight and they want her because it will sell more pay-per-views? It’s not how it should be. We have to have honor and not think only about money.”