Dana White compares Amanda Nunes retiring to Lorenzo Fertitta selling UFC and leaving combat sports



UFC 289: Nunes v Aldana
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Dana White has rarely tried to talk a fighter out of retirement whenever they decide it’s time to call it a career, but he may have had those feelings after UFC 289.

On Saturday night, Amanda Nunes thoroughly dominated Irene Aldana in the main event and then promptly laid down her gloves and two UFC titles before announcing that she was walking away from the sport. With a child at home and another baby on the way, Nunes appears ready to focus on her family and put fighting behind her after establishing herself as arguably the greatest women’s fighter to ever compete in MMA.

Following the event, White wasn’t angry or upset by any means that Nunes decided to retire, but instead he felt a profound sadness similar to when one of his best friends orchestrated the sale of the UFC before walking away from combat sports for good.

“I’ve got to take it the same way I took Lorenzo [Fertitta] retiring,” White said at the UFC 289 post-fight press conference. “No, I wasn’t happy when Lorenzo retired either, but he said ‘You know what? This is what I want. Be happy for me.’ So this must be what Amanda wants, so I’m definitely happy for her.

“Would I like to see her stick around and do some more? Absolutely, I love the kid. She’s been incredible to work with. She’s such a good human being and an incredible champion. Obviously, the greatest female fighter of all-time. I’d love to keep her around. But if she’s ready to go, then you’ve got to be happy for her.”

Prior to her fight, Nunes said she actually considered retirement after losing her UFC bantamweight title to Julianna Peña in 2021, but she couldn’t stomach the idea of leaving the division in Pena’s hands. Nunes ultimately came back and thumped Peña in the rematch to reclaim her belt.

Now, after a similarly lopsided performance over Aldana in her latest title defense, Nunes is ready to hang up her gloves for good.

As much as it breaks his heart to see her go, White admits he’s not all that surprised that Nunes announced her retirement, especially after a long and lucrative career in the UFC.

“I’m not shocked that she retired,” White said. “I’ve been saying for a while, she made a lot of money and her life is a lot different than it was 10 years ago.

“I kind of felt this [coming]. She made a very good living. She’s got a lot of money. She’s going to be good. She looked great and came out and performed, but I think it’s all the things before you get here tonight that you have to go through and you have to do that has made her decide to retire, in my opinion.”

As far as her final performance, White had nothing but praise for Nunes following another shutout win over a top-ranked contender like Aldana. Nunes won every single round on the scorecards, with all three judges giving her at least one 10-8 round along the way.

Outside of earning a finish, Nunes couldn’t have displayed a much better performance for her final fight.

“She looked incredible,” White said. “Amazing performance, completely shut her down. I think one of the guys was telling me tonight, it was the most punches landed or something like that. She broke two records tonight. That was the most punches she’s ever landed and I think she passed Sara McMann tonight for takedowns, so more records for her.”

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