Amanda Nunes explains decision to leave American Top Team
UFC women’s featherweight champion and former bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes explained her side of the story as to why she left her longtime gym in American Top Team.
“The Lioness” spoke to media ahead of filming for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Season 30 where she will coach opposite current bantamweight champ Julianna Peña who defeated Nunes for her title at 135-pounds in December at UFC 269.
Nunes has spent the past seven years training at American Top Team in Florida but recently made the decision to open her own location, separate from the coaches and athletes she has worked with so closely.
“Actually, I always wanted to open a private spot,” Nunes told media. “I never said I’m going to open a gym to compete against [American Top Team]. That never came out of my mouth.
“But I always wanted to have a little private space for me. Because even at American Top Team, I always did my things separated. I had my time to go, and I had my coaches there waiting for me to help me with my camp. It was always like that.”
While Nunes may be closing the door on one chapter of her life in order to open another, the 145-pound queen has no animosity towards her former gym. Some speculated that Nunes left because her ATT teammate and PFL champion Kayla Harrison was going to be signed by the UFC, potentially setting up a superfight between the two ladies.
“It was always in my head that one day I might want to have a space,” she said. “I want to see all my teachings on the wall, put up my logo, all those things that a lot of fighters want to do that at some point in their career. I feel like this is the moment for me. I want to go on my own for a little bit.
“American Top Team, together we did amazing things. All the coaches, the gym, the owner Dan Lambert – I feel like we did everything for each other. But now for me, for my head, for now I feel like I should go do what I really want.
“I feel like I deserve to do what I want to do. It’s nothing to do with the gym. Actually, we’re still good. I can still walk in the gym and train whenever I want. I didn’t close the door because [nothing] happened. I did it my way, but we did a lot of things together. We made history together.”
The historic 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter will see UFC® bantamweight champion Julianna Peña and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes go head-to-head as coaches for men’s heavyweights and women’s flyweights competing to make the UFC roster. Following the series, which exclusively debuts Tuesday, May 3 on ESPN+, the two coaches will prepare to square off for the bantamweight title at a date that will be determined in the near future.
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