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30 Moments of Pride: Amanda Nunes becomes first female UFC double champion

The “Lioness” triumphed over the “Cyborg” and etched her name into the annals of MMA as the greatest ever, all while being a gay role model.

UFC 232: Cyborg v Nunes
Amanda Nunes, the Champ-Champ
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

For Pride month, we’ve dedicated each day of June to an individual athlete or coach whose shining moment changed LGBTQ sports.

Today: We’re looking back at Dec. 29, 2018 and the MMA battle that secured The Lioness’s place in the history books.

Amanda Nunes is the UFC. There’s no other way to put it. Especially after the out embodiment of dominance made history yet again at UFC 250 on Saturday when she became the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold and successfully defend championships in two different weight classes.

Nunes’ expert dissection of Felicia Spencer en route to defending her Featherweight belt ranks near the top of the most dominant performances in UFC title fights. It also left her in a form of purgatory after running through virtually every top challenger for both her Featherweight and Bantamweight championships.

“That was my goal, defend my two belts ... I’m so happy right now. I don’t know what is next,” Nunes said post-fight.

The journey to Saturday’s triumphant moment started almost two years ago when Nunes trampled Cris “Cyborg” Justino to capture the UFC Featherweight title at UFC 232. The build-up to the fight focused heavily on the champion vs. champion aspect, pitting two women who dominated their respective divisions against one another.

While Nunes had ruled the Bantamweight division for over two years heading into the fight with Cyborg, there was some concern regarding how she would fare in a higher weight class. Especially against the likes of Cyborg, who carved her own path of dominance over a 13-year unbeaten streak.

But there’s a reason why Nunes is the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, and Cyborg found out in a paltry :51 seconds that night.

Nunes knocked Cyborg out with unnatural ease, silencing any doubt about where she stood on the MMA hierarchy. The victory made the “Lioness” the first female double champion in UFC history and inspired UFC president Dana White to call her “the best ever.” With tears in her eyes, Nunes celebrated in the middle of the octagon before White draped her in UFC gold.

“Nothing was going to stop me from what I wanted to do tonight ... when she connected with a couple of punches, I just said, ‘I’m going to walk right through her,’” Nunes said following the win.

The only question that remains now is how the sport’s most celebrated and decorated out athlete will make history next.

Follow Amanda Nunes on Twitter by clicking here. We’ll bring you another Moment of Pride tomorrow and every day in June.