Amanda Nunes has opened up about the role Kayla Harrison played in her departure from American Top Team.
Former UFC women’s two-division champion Amanda Nunes has established her status as the GOAT in the promotion. Being the only female to hold two belts at the same time, Nunes spent most of her career training at ATT. After news of her leaving the gym came out, many were surprised at the decision given the success they had achieved together.
Amanda Nunes on her departure from ATT
In her latest outing, the 33-year-old Brazilian suffered a major upset against Julianna Pena. Her title loss to one of the biggest underdogs in the history of betting in the UFC added to the shock of her exit.
During a recent appearance on MMA Fighting’s podcast Trocação Franca, Amanda Nunes shared the details behind her parting from ATT. While she spoke about her desire to start her own team, spend more time with her family, and do other things, Nunes also talked about the challenge of having potential opponents under the same roof.
“There’s that saying, like it or lump it. I was bothered by the whole situation, of course”
“There were no girls when I got to American Top Team. I was the first woman to bring two belts and put the women’s team in history. When Kayla got there and then Kunitskaya, it began creating a weird situation for me because that was my territory”
“Other bantamweights were coming. Kunitskaya, who was already at the top and could’ve been a future opponent with a win over Ketlen [Vieira in 2021]. She got there right, when she was close to becoming the next opponent. She showed up in the gym and I had a scare when I walked in. I was like, ‘No, it’s not possible.’ It was creating this situation already”
Having athletes who call you out and train with you seems challenging. In addition to that, Amanda Nunes was not comfortable with Harrison being coached by Mike Brown, who was already training ‘Lioness’.
“And then Kayla started talking. I was kind of, ‘Man, I’m not safe even in my territory.’ I was kind of cornered, even because we share the same coaches. She trains with Mike Brown and I train with Mike Brown. I was already training with them when she got there.”
Nunes remains open to a potential fight with Kayla Harrison if she signs to the UFC.
“If she’s going to sign [with the UFC] or not, that’s up to Kayla. I’ll be waiting. That would be the correct way, in my opinion, for her to talk about me, because I’m no longer there [at ATT]. That’s the correct way to say whatever she wants on the mic, to call me out or do whatever she wants, and I’ll be waiting for her there. When she signs [with the UFC], I’ll be there to defend [my belt].”
“Every challenge is welcome. If you fight and like to be at the top and test yourself at all times, you really want motivation to continue breaking records. After my departure [from ATT], it’s entirely on Kayla to signing with the UFC. I’ll be there waiting for anything. Of course, it will be way better now that we’re on difference sides.”
Harrison recently signed a new deal with the PFL that has her locked down with the promotion for another seven years. Unless the UFC comes to an agreement for cross-promotion, it seems unlikely Nunes will fight Harrison anytime soon.