Amanda Nunes, aka The Lioness of the Ring, may not be a household name yet, but if she beats Julia Budd at the Strikeforce Challengers show in Nashville on January 7th, people will definitely sit up and take notice.  Nunes is 5-1 in her MMA career, with her only loss coming in her very first fight.  Since then the Brazilian fighters has racked up five straight wins, all of them by TKO.

She faces her biggest test in Julia Budd on January 7th.  Budd is a former Muay Thai fighter--the only one to beat Gina Carano in Muay Thai--who is known for her striking.  This match up is sure to be explosive, as well it should be, because there is so much at stake.  The winner will more than likely get a title shot against Christine Cyborg, so expect this one to end inside the distance.

I interviewed Amanda Nunes recently.  Here is the transcript: How is your training going for your fight with Julia Budd at Strikeforce on January 7?

Amanda Nunes: My training is good. I miss my trainers in Brazil because we have spent so much time together and I wish they could experience America and Strikeforce with me.  But the actual training in New Jersey is very good.  Much more structure and a better facility.  I am training at Team Carvalho in Paterson and at Martial Maxx MMA in Teterboro with my master Sensei Edson Carvalho.  New Jersey has very good boxing and wrestling, but there are more blackbelts in Brazil for jujitsu (laughs). What do you expect for this fight?

Amanda Nunes: I expect a very tough fight. Julia Budd is a Muay Thai Champion and the only person to beat Gina Carano in Muay Thai. She is bigger than me and has great striking but I think my overall MMA skills will get me the victory.  But I expect a war with me stopping her at some point in the fight Assuming you win this fight, you could be fighting Cyborg next. What do you think about her?

Amanda Nunes: I think Cyborg is a awesome fighter and she is a great champion.  My focus is on this fight because without a win here then I will never fight Cyborg.  But I see Cyborg as the ultimate goal.  When I reach her then I know that all my work and sacrifice has paid off and I will go in there to take the belt.  I believe her other opponents went into the fight scared and fought not to get hurt.  I will bring the fight to her and let her deal with my pressure. Who are some of your favorite fighters?

Amanda Nunes: Cain Velasquez is my favorite.  He has no weakness and he has the right mindstate for fighting. I also love to watch Jacare, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort and of course Wanderlei Silva. I  love to watch fight videos and take the best from each fighter. Anything else you'd like to say before you go?

I would like to thank all my family in NJ and Brazil and all my sponsors and coaches.  Please watch me on Jan7th on Showtime.  You won’t be disappointed!

(Pics:  Amanda Nunes training at Team Carvalho in Paterson, NJ)

(Special thanks to Chris Vendor and Edson Carvalho)




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