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Germaine de Randamie: Amanda Nunes was ‘exposed’ in our ‘boring’ title fight

ABU DHABI – Germaine de Randamie says lessons were learned in her title fight loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 245 this past December, but she doesn’t look back fondly at the bout.

De Randamie (9-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC), a former UFC women’s featherweight champion, had the chance to win a belt in another division when she challenged Nunes (20-4 MMA, 13-1 UFC) for the women’s bantamweight strap. She lost a lopsided unanimous decision when “The Lioness” used grappling to wear down the former kickboxing champion over five rounds.

Victory wasn’t far from de Randamie’s grasp on that night, she said, and though she credits Nunes for the win, she said it wasn’t a performance that made her feel like a significantly inferior fighter and thinks she showed chinks in the champion’s armor.

“The biggest lesson I learned to myself is I have to stick to a game plan,” de Randamie told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Wednesday at UFC on ESPN 16 media day. “I came in that night to fight and she came in not to lose. I believe I honestly made it easy on her, but I exposed her at the same time, and she exposed that I should not be that kickboxer anymore and I should be that MMA fighter. I learned my lessons, but I’m motivated, I’m here and we’ll see.

“I was never in any danger. I had no damage at all, even after the fight. I clipped her in the second round and I was like, ‘I only have to hit her one more time and I’ll knock her out.’ I was too hungry, I stood straight up just like I did in my kickboxing days. I did exactly what she wanted me to do and she laid on top of me and made it a very boring fight. But she got the job done.”

De Randamie has had plenty of time to reflect upon the loss to Nunes. She returns to the octagon for a women’s bantamweight bout with Julianna Pena (9-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at UFC on ESPN 16, which takes place Saturday at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN+.

It’s a big fight for the weight class, and though Pena has been relatively inactive in recent years, de Randamie said she knows there’s a lot at stake.

“I’m always excited,” de Randamie said. “I just want to fight. It doesn’t matter. A fight stays the same. If someone has a two-year layoff of one-year layoff, it doesn’t matter. I expect the best Julianna Pena to show up. I know she has something to prove and wants that title shot, so I’m the one to beat.”

As far as how the fight will play out, de Randamie thinks her opponent with come with the same game plan as everyone, and that’s to take her off her feet. The former kickboxer says she’s “not done,” and would be open to push for another title fight in the future.

First she has to get through Pena, though, and knows it won’t be easy.

“It doesn’t matter who I face – I’ve fought the best and they will all shoot on me,” de Randamie said. “Every fight is the same. Every if I fight a stand-up fighter. Even Holly (Holm) tried to shoot on me, Amanda tried to shoot on me – they all shoot on me. I fight every time the same fight.”

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